Interactive video: An examination of use and effectiveness

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<ul><li><p>Interactive Video: An Examination of Use and Effectiveness </p><p>Eric E. Smith Educational Computing and Instruc- tional Development Department of Education 118 Matthews Hall Purdue University West Lafayette, IN 47907 </p><p>Abstract. In the last few years, in- teractive video has made tremendous advances in hardware with correspon- ding reduction in cost. This article discusses the nature of interactive video, its educational use, evidence for effec- tiveness, and the design of interactive video courseware. The evidence seems to indicate that the medium is both effec- tive and efficient, though few rigorous studies have been done. While a systematic approach is followed for pro- ducing interactive video, little discussion of design models and variables exists. The development or adaptation of con- sistent design models and further study on effectiveness, efficiency, and cost ef- fectiveness are suggested. </p><p>A student walks into a classroom. It is not a traditional classroom of desks, chalkboard, and instructor. Instead, in- dividual and small group stations con- taining computer keyboards, monitors, and laserdisc players fill the room. The student may be studying third grade science, engine repair, or how to pilot a new plane. It is an interactive video classroom. Visionaries in the fields of training and education suggest that such classrooms will be commonplace in the near future (Price &amp; Marsh, 1983; Jonassen, 1984; Waldrop, 1982; Wilson, 1983; Withrow, 1985; Withrow &amp; Roberts, 1982; Young &amp; Schlieve, 1984). </p><p>The excitement for this medium arises from what experts see as the medium's greatest strength: interactivity. Interac- tivity implies that learners are active participants in the instruction/learning process. The passive aspects of televi- sion or film media are compensated by the activity encouraged and in many cases required by the computer control in interactive video (Laurillard, 1984; Levin, 1983). The activity may be nothing more than deciding to advance to the next screen, or deciding which topic to study next to reach a specified goal. The contention is that any medium encouraging active participation on the part of the learner is better than a purely passive information presentation (Bunderson, Hoekema, Hon, Wilson, Worcester, &amp; Woodward, 1983; Donahue &amp; Donahue, 1983; Ebner, Manning, Brooks, Mahoney, Lippert, &amp; Balson, 1984; Priestman, 1984; Yam- polsky, 1983). </p><p>This paper discusses the nature of in- teractive video, its history, use, design, and future. Past and present uses of in- teractive video and evidence for its effec- tiveness are presented. Design criteria for interactive video production and use are examined. Finally, the future of in- teractive video and some of the issues yet to be resolved are discussed. </p><p>Def in i t ion of Interact ive Video There seems to be no agreed upon </p><p>definition of interactive video; experts in the field have their own concepts and in- dividual definitions (Bunderson et al., 1983; Priestman, 1984; Yampolsky, 1983). However, each definition has common features that will serve as an operational definition for this discus- sion: interactive video is the use of a video delivery system designed in such a way that it will respond to choices made by the individual user. These choices may be spontaneous on the part of the user or they may be prompted by the system. </p><p>Although interactive video systems differ in format, their common features are described in terms of levels. Level 0 is the simplest (Daynes, 1984). It is a linear playback unit that is not truly in- teractive. </p><p>Level 1 is an expansion of the capabilities of the Level 0 system. It con- sists of a video player (either disc or tape) that has remote control, forward and reverse scanning, random program or frame access and, if possible, still frame. Stereo audio, variable motion, and single frame advance are also desirable. Such systems use only infor- mation on the source, so all text and graphics must be included. Home video players with remote control are an ex- ample of an inexpensive Level I system. </p><p>Level 2 has all of the capabilities of the Level 1 system in addition to a microprocessor and limited computer memory in the player. The videotape or disc contains a computer program that is loaded into the memory. The interaction is controlled or augmented by the pro- gram. Level 2 systems require an invest- ment in specific hardware and do not allow upgrading for improved perfor- mance without remastering the video source. </p><p>Level 3 is the highest level for which a common definition exists. It consists of a player interfaced with an external com- puter. All of the interactions are con- trolled through the computer's program- ming. Level 3 is the most versatile and most costly of the systems. </p><p>At Level 3, computer generated text and graphics can be used to supplement and enhance the information on the video source. Machine specific interfaces are used to connect the computer with the video player (Daynes, 1982a; Lovece, 1984; Wilson, 1983). Basic inter- faces allow control of the player and switching of the screen from the video source to the computer source. More complex and expensive interfaces allow computer generated images to overlay video images (Kalowski, 1985). </p><p>2 JOURNAL OF INSTRUCTIONAL DEVELOPMENT </p></li><li><p>However, such systems are even more machine specific than Level 2 systems since they use specific computers, specific players, and specific interfaces. Such specificity is not as costly as might be expected since the lesson is controlled by the computer program. Upgrading the interface requires only modification of the program, not remastering of the video source. </p><p>Interactive video at Levels 2 and 3 may be considered the merging of two different technologies, video and com- puter. In the opinion of some experts, this merger has created a medium that has more power to educate than the sum of both used separately (Bunderson et al., 1983; De Bloois, 1982). Others view Level 3 as a video peripheral device that enhances the computer's ability to per- form education and training tasks (Grabowski &amp; Aggen, 1984). To under stand the nature of interactive video, it will be helpful to examine briefly the history of each of the technologies in- volved as well as their combination. </p><p>In the early 1970s, several videodisc formats were developed using capa- citance devices and lasers. Because of the recording and playback processes for capacitance systems, random access is limited and still frame is very difficult to achieve. Recent developments are over- coming some of the limitations of these systems (Griffiths, 1984; Parsloe, 1984). </p><p>The laser systems are of two varieties: constant linear velocity (CLV) and cons- tant angular velocity (CAV). CLV systems change the rotational speed of the disc as the program is played. They are intended primarily for linear playback. Random access, still frame, and slow motion is difficult because of the need to change speed constantly. CAV systems use a constant rotational speed, allowing still frame, random ac- cess, and slow motion. However, a 12 inch CAV disc contains only half an hour of linear playing time per side, while CLV contains an hour. </p><p>By the mid 1970s, several video for- mats existed. However, because of the </p><p>A brief summary of interactive video usage in the U.S. indicates that 11.6 per- cent of organizations with 50 or more employees use some form of interactive video. </p><p>The earliest disc recordings of video images for broadcast were invented by James Logie Baird. The process was call- ed "phonovision" and had only 30 lines of resolution and played at 12.5 frames per second (Daynes, 1984). This can be compared with today's National Televi- sion Standards Committee (NTSC) stan- dard resolution of 525 lines and 30 frames per second. It was not until the early 1960s that discs capable of the resolution needed for broadcast were developed. Though these discs could produce full bandwidth images, they were not readily available. Meanwhile, videotape was developed and became available to educators in the 1950s (Gayeski, 1983). </p><p>minimum requirement of accurate ran- dom access, only a couple of the video formats were useful for interactivity. These were videotape and CAV laser- discs. While recent developments in the other formats allow for more interactivi- ty than a decade ago, CAV and video- tape remain the most widely used. </p><p>As video technology was evolving, the computer revolution began. With the development of very large scale in- tegration (VLSI) techniques in 1975, the microcomputer was possible (Alessi &amp; Trollip, 1985). It was the microcomputer that allowed the use of video technology in an interactive mode. Level 2 systems have small microcomputers on board and Level 3 systems use external corn- </p><p>puters. The use of external computers allows </p><p>for multiple methods of user interaction. Most interactive video systems use some kind of keyboard input device (e.g., the remote control of the video unit or a computer keyboard). Other input op- tions include joy sticks, graphics tablets, and touch-sensitive screens. Any device that can be used to input data to the computer can, in theory, be used to con- trol the interaction. </p><p>Since the video format includes at least one audio track, audio can accom- pany motion sequences. In disc format, two audio tracks are available; each of the audio tracks may have a different narrat ion, possibly in different languages. For still frames, some systems allow storing digitally com- pressed audio on the disc and reading the audio into a buffer. When the still frame is shown, the audio is played (Magel, 1985). </p><p>Today, several formats of tape- and disc-based systems are available, but none are compatible. Further, discs are more costly, more difficult, and more time consuming to produce. However, it is difficult to damage a disc once it is produced. The useable life of a disc is limited only by the information it con- tains, not its physical characteristics. The CAV disc format allows accurate frame location, speed, still frame, and frame stepping that are difficult to achieve with tape or other disc formats. Access speed, the time to find any frame or sequence, is frequently mentioned as a great advantage of disc for interactivi- ty. However, recent studies question this assumption (Hannafin, Phillips, &amp; Tripp, 1986). Both tape and disc systems are in use, although disc is more often discussed in the literature. </p><p>Use of Interactive Video Three major sectors use and study in- </p><p>teractive video: the military and govern- ment, private industry, and education. Daynes (1984) states that the military is one of the leaders in videodisc applica- tions. One early use was a vicleodisc ver- sion of a Student Performance Aids Manual. Videodisc based courses in weapons system maintenance, such as the HAWK missile system, have been developed and tested (Kimberlin, 1982). Communications systems is another area where videodisc systems are in use (Ketner, 1982). Other examples of in- teractive video use in military training </p><p>1987, VOL. 10, NO. 2 3 </p></li><li><p>include paramedical, nursing (Ebner et al., 1983, 1984; Manning, Balson, Ebner, &amp; Brooks, 1983) and leadership and counselling skills (Schroeder, 1982). </p><p>Recently, the U.S. Army has streng- thened its commitment to interactive video by deciding to install 1985 interac- tive videodisc based Electronic Informa- tion Delivery Systems (EIDS) in its train- ing schools ("U.S. Army Makes", 1987). More than 4500 hours of training have been produced so far for the EIDS system and another 6400 hours are ex- pected by the end of the fiscal year. Ear- ly use of courseware developed for this system indicates that it will be suc- cessful. Further, other branches of the military are considering the adoption of the EIDS standard for their interactive video courseware. </p><p>Private industry uses interactive video in two ways. One use is to present infor- mation to prospective customers and train system users. This is exemplified by three projects for IBM produced by WICAT: "IBM COPICS Purchasing," "IBM Office Systems Concepts," and "IBM Community Bank Systems" (Bunderson, 1983). In 1981, IBM had 36 customer training centers using interac- tive video ("How IBM Uses", 1981). In- dustry also uses interactive video in training for employees and information dissemination. For example, in 1980, General Motors invested in 11,000 video players and formed the GM network, the first large scale videodisc network. It utilized Level 2 players and programs produced by Sandy Corporation (Daynes, 1984). </p><p>Other companies have invested in similar networks in order to decentralize training, insure that all personnel receive the same training, and reduce training costs. Pool Well Servicing Company, a Houston based oil well service com- pany, invested in.-interactive video in response to training costs projected to double in five years and an inability to handle projected training volume. They projected a savings of as much as 75 per- cent in the cost of delivering quality training (Gibson, 1984). Raytheon/ Beechcraft is using an interactive videodisc system with still-frame audio to train pilots for a new deluxe corporate aircraft (Magel, 1985). </p><p>A brief summary of interactive video usage in the U.S. indicates that 11.6 per- cent of organizations with 50 or more employees use some form of interactive video ("Interactive Video", 1985). Breaking this figure into component in- </p><p>dustries, the survey indicates that use ranges from 20.1 percent in financial/in- surance/banking to 3.0 percent in wholesale/retail trade. </p><p>Educational use is limited and for the most part still experimental. Both videodisc and videotape formats are us- ed, and educators are debating their relative virtues (Donahue &amp; Donahue, 1983; Pawley, 1983; Price &amp; Marsh, 1983; Sanders, 1985). Examples include the highly successful videodisc system for teaching cardiopulmonary resuscita- tion by Hon (1982, 1983), and a teacher using the school's video camera and students as the production team to pro- duce interactive videotape lessons (Howe, 1984). </p><p>A series of 13 discs in the Continuing Medical Education Library from Smith Kline &amp; French Pharmaceuticals has been accredited by the American Medical Association. The Nebraska Videodisc Design/Production Group has produced several interactive videodiscs for college science education (Jones, 1985). Nugent and Stepp (1984) </p><p>Evidence for Effectiveness Although some have questioned the </p><p>interpretation of experimental results (Clark, 1985a, 1985b; Stowitschek &amp; Stowitschek, 1984), there is a great deal of evidence that computer assisted in- struction in general is both effective and efficient (Chambers &amp; Sprecher, 1983; Dossett &amp; Konczak, 1985; Forman, 1982; Kulik, Bangert, &amp; Williams, 1983; Kulik, Kulik, &amp; Cohen, 1980; Kulik, Kulik, &amp; Shwalb, 1986). Despite its short history, specific evidence for the effectiveness and efficiency of interac- tive video is gro...</p></li></ul>

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