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What can we learn from video sharing platforms for learning and teaching?

Guest posts

Category: Teaching and research

22 April 2021

Jamie Heywood, an Academic Developer in Anglia Learning & Teaching, explores video sharing platforms, including Flipgrid, and how they can be used to promote fun and engaging social learning.

Video sharing platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube have taken the world by storm, especially within the younger age groups. For smartphone users in the UK aged between 18-24, over a quarter are using TikTok and over half are using Snapchat as social media and video sharing platforms. Even a recent minute long video from our very own Professor Viren Swami on the ARU TikTok account has racked up nearly fifty thousand views at the time of writing in just a matter of weeks.

What has caused this meteoric rise of video sharing platforms which have become so popular? Short engaging bursts of content, which can be watched any time, on any device, with minimal attention expenditure. Content creation is equally simple with quick, accessible editing and intuitive usability.

Seeing how ubiquitous these platforms have become and hearing students discuss using these made me reflect and consider how we can harness this appeal within Higher Education and use it as a catalyst for learning and engagement. This motivation became stronger following the rapid shift to online teaching and learning last year, with an urgency to implement innovative methods and practices to further connect and collaborate with our students.

Asynchronous tasks, and activities in higher education have predominately utilised reading and writing as a mechanism for engagement such as discussion forums, reflective writing, or more passive learning approaches such as reading through notes. Video sharing platforms can bring a new dimension and vibrancy to the options available, adding another resource to our teaching toolkit. Socratic style questioning can be deployed, where users post a video response to a question, alongside group discussions and opportunities for reflection, through a one-off post or a video diary over time. Summaries of presentations, portfolios and research projects can be shared within a created space for viewing and discussing other contributions. They can also be used to build social presence and community by users introducing themselves, as an icebreaker or giving progress updates.

Other advantages include 21st century digital skill development being embedded with skills such as video recording, editing, and sharing content being enhanced. Typically, there are more advanced options available for those more confident as well as support available for those newer to video sharing, to suit all individual needs. There can also be inclusive options for students not wanting to record themselves or their environment, such as using a filter, or producing a voiceover with no video.

Flipgrid is another example of a video sharing platform, which I came across when they joined the Microsoft family in 2018. Groups can be set up as a central hub, where multiple topics can be shared and participants can post video responses and share additional content such as YouTube videos, images, external links, and Microsoft files such as a Word document or PowerPoint. I was especially impressed by the many accessible features such as default closed captions, built in Microsoft immersive reader and being navigable with keyboard. There are also options to record through a web browser or a mobile app, as well as integration features within Canvas and Microsoft Teams. Early higher education research suggests that Flipgrid can be beneficial in a HyFlex learning environment to build community and engagement (Keiper, et al., 2020) and to develop social learning and improve reflection (Stoszkowski, Hodgkinson & Collins, 2021).

When I first incorporated Flipgrid within my practice, I was apprehensive about the level of engagement and how my students would feel about recording themselves. I asked my group to post a reflection of a recent session and what they would take away from it. The results were unexpected; the engagement was much higher than a recent written discussion forum and students were even posting video responses back to other students’ recordings, resulting in rich, meaningful exchanges, which felt more personal.

Whether you are looking to introduce something new into your practice or want an alternative to a written discussion forum, then Flipgrid could be worth exploring. The popularity of video sharing platforms certainly does not seem to be going away any time soon which means there are abundant opportunities to capitalise from this within a teaching and learning context.

Can Anglia Learning & Teaching support you in incorporating video sharing platforms into your teaching? Please feel free to get in contact. You can also visit our Flipgrid Canvas page and this How-To guide which comprises of 15 short episodes on using Flipgrid. Keep an eye out for upcoming CPD workshops on Flipgrid too.

By Jamie Heywood
Academic Developer, Anglia Learning & Teaching


Keiper, M., White, A., Carlson, C. and Lupinek, J., 2020. Student perceptions on the benefits of Flipgrid in a HyFlex learning environment. Journal of Education for Business, [e-journal]. DOI: 10.1080/08832323.2020.1832431.

Stoszkowski, J., Hodgkinson, A and Collins, D., 2021. Using Flipgrid to improve reflection: a collaborative online approach to coach development. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 26(2), pp.167-178. DOI: 10.1080/17408989.2020.1789575


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.