Handing over the key: students take ownership of the learning management system to create their own learning

Marcus Pedersen

Your gurl and boy on laptop, Girl in green stripey top pointing at screen, boy in blue T-shirt has both arms in the air celebrating. They appear to be in a computer lab

Over the last two decades learning management systems (LMS) have had thousands of tools developed to increase the interactive nature of online learning. One of these tools, H5P, is rapidly becoming the gold standard for authoring interactive videos. H5P is a free program available on most large LMS’. H5P allows the user to create an interactive video. An interactive video allows for questions, prompts and links to be layered over a video. Therefore when the viewer is watching the video they interact with the learning material as opposed to passively watching a video.

I decided to empower both teachers and students to use this tool to create an interactive resource for masters’ students studying ophthalmology at University College London.

Why this idea?

Video can overcome barriers to understanding by allowing for increased repetition of an activity which helps with task processing (Meyer & Land, 2006). This effect of unbridled access allows for developing one’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). The ZPD is where a student can achieve a task with assistance from a peer or facilitator (Wertsch, 1984). There is less literature supporting the use of interactive video, so I set about collecting data from a group of twenty masters students.

Initially I taught the course instructor how to create an interactive video of evisceration surgery as students were not able to come into the hospital due to the ongoing global pandemic.

The student feedback from the initial interactive surgery video was overwhelmingly positive with a 95% increase in confidence and understanding of the topic. This positive response is most likely because ‘Advanced preparation allows for engaging discussions around clinical applications and challenging topics, increased classroom efficiency, and a more thorough understanding of material as learning is both self-paced and focused’ (Bordes et al., 2021, p. 33).

The increased participation may increase the confidence and understanding of the students. Prober and Khan (2013) further support the idea of using video, for they believe by allowing students to learn in their own time (K1) you create a space where more learning can occur. These two aspects may have attributed to the incredible feedback from students.

The next step was to then give agency to the students so they could create their own interactive video (applying one of Diana Laurillard’s six learning types ‘production’). These videos would be used as formative assessment (instead of a PowerPoint presentation) and other students could use their peers’ work to revise (peer-to-peer teaching). H5P interactive video is designed to be as accessible as possible therefore the online resources developed can be used by students with specific learning needs. Acosta et al. (2020) guided my choice for they support the idea that video can make learning more accessible.

I set about creating an isolated Moodle space where students were given tutor access so they could use H5P. The students were given access to the same instructional video I made for my colleague and then the students began to create their own interactive videos.

Hence, a new approach to use the learning management system whilst simultaneously developing resources for the virtual environment was created. There are now twenty interactive videos which, once vetted by the teacher, can be used for the next cohort and in the following years the number will increase.

These video resources can be viewed as many times as the student desires. Meyer and Land (2006) suggest this increased access to resources may increase self-efficacy. The ability to increase self-confidence is highlighted in the feedback.

The final feedback showed:

  • 86% of students found that the process of developing their own video improved their confidence and understanding of topics. Watching their peers’ videos also had the same effect
  • 86% of students believe that interactive videos are more effective than normal videos.
  • Video has been proven to increase the confidence, understanding and self-efficacy of students. I believed that layering video using H5P would only develop this further. I may be on to something…

How could others implement this idea?

  1. It requires someone who can navigate a learning management system to create a space for the students so they have ‘teacher’ access
  2. You need to create an instructional video on how to create an interactive video
  3. You need a subject matter expert to create the initial video for students to interact with
  4. Allow students to create their own interactive videos

This activity can be run at any time and can be expanded to other classes as it is not only useful for ophthalmology.

It took about 30 minutes to make the interactive video; I used Camtasia but any video editing software could be used. Teaching the course instructor took one meeting and then time to create the interactive video which is about one hour for every 10 minutes of interactive video. However, the amount of time decreases as one becomes more familiar with the software. Setting up the learning management system took about one hour.

Transferability to different contexts

This idea is valid for anyone with access to a learning management system that has H5P. Video knows no boundaries. It has an added benefit of showing things that cannot be viewed easily on online lectures.

  1. Reach out to your learning technologist they can help with the tech side of things
  2. Try software you are familiar with, it doesn’t have to be the video editing software I used
  3. Collect feedback
  4. Let me know how it goes at Marcus.pedersen@ucl.ac.uk

Links to tools and resources



Acosta, T., Acosta-Vargas, P., Zambrano-Miranda, J., & Lujan-Mora, S. (2020). Web Accessibility evaluation of videos published on YouTube by worldwide top-ranking universities. IEEE Access, 8, 110994-111011. https://doi.org/10.1109/ACCESS.2020.3002175

Bordes, S.J., Walker, D., Modica, L.J., Buckland, J. and Sobering, A.K., 2021. Towards the optimal use of video recordings to support the flipped classroom in medical school basic sciences education. Medical Education Online, 26(1), 1841406. https://doi.org/10.1080/10872981.2020.1841406

Meyer, J., & Land, R. (2006). Overcoming barriers to student understanding: Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge. Routledge.

Prober, C. G., & Khan, S. (2013). Medical education reimagined: A call to action. Academic Medicine, 88(10), 1407-1410. https://doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0b013e3182a368bd

Wertsch, J. V. (1984). The zone of proximal development: Some conceptual issues. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 1984(23), 7-18. https://doi.org/10.1002/cd.23219842303

Image Attribution

Kids excited at a laptop photo via GoodFreePhotos, licensed under CC-0 (public domain)

About the author

Marcus Pedersen is a Learning Technologist for the Global Business School for Health at UCL, working with hundreds of academics across Northern Europe and Israel. After completing his Masters in teaching (primary) from the University of Melbourne, he had a brief stint as a classroom teacher before becoming involved with higher education and the interplay between technology and education.


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100 Ideas for Active Learning Copyright © 2022 by Marcus Pedersen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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