LEARNING IN HIGHER EDUCATION: MACHINIMA VS TRADITIONAL VIDEO
Two academics at a regional university in Australia explore the differences between creating machinima and traditional video for their undergraduate online higher education students in education and accounting. Presented is an overview of the two medium and the author’s conclusions as to the machinima/video they prefer to use as a resource for their student and why. Machinima and traditional videos have been used with these author’s students over the past ten years. In Education, the use of machinima/video was an added resource and not compulsory to use. With the Accounting students, the machinima/video were used to complement a compulsory component of the student’s study resources. Due to this, there were many more views of the machinima/video of the Accounting students. Explored are the academic’s perceptions of the benefits of using the two medium. Videos, through the capture of screen movements, have the capacity to show step-by-step procedures on how to undertake certain tasks. This is an extremely useful resource for accounting students. It is also useful for pre-service teachers when needing to understand how a task may be undertaken using the computer. An example would be demonstrating how to create a video that could be used in the classroom. Machinima, on the other hand, is presented through avatars acting out scenarios using movement and audio, as you would if using actors. Therefore, interactions between people (avatars) and other people and/or objects are the main focus of machinima. Using machinima has been successful in demonstrating how a transaction could take place in a retail business when showing how to undertake a stock take (see, for example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDY9KiTzcPk). In education, students can view machinima to see demonstrations of a lesson being conducted (see, for example: http://virtualprex.com/machinima.html). Machinima can be used to demonstrate tasks that are difficult, if not impossible, to undertake in the real world. For example, pre-service teachers can view machinima recorded to demonstrate how to conduct a lesson, how not to conduct a lesson, or what to do in different scenarios if they happened in a real classroom. They assist the pre-service teacher in learning without having to go through the process themselves in a real classroom, through trial and error. In accounting, machinima can explain concepts that are difficult to understand without being in a real office environment. Machinima can assist in explaining tasks through authentic learning experiences. The use of video is an excellent tool to demonstrate transactions that require screen capture. Both machinima and video have a role to play in the right circumstances in higher education through authentic learning experiences in the professions. While machinima provides for deep learning and enables the student to fully understand a process, it does have a comparatively high cost. This cost is not in physical dollars but in time. A 20 minute screen capture video can be done in 20 minutes. Investing a further 30 or 40 minutes for editing can significantly improve both its visual appeal and effectiveness. From within one hour of starting, a useful learning tool could be recorded and made available for publication. Machinima on the other hand, could take two full days, multiple people with diverse skills to produce a video that covers far less than screen capture.