Guidelines for using video to study workshop or workplace-based trades learning
This guide is written to help teachers /workplace trainers study the learning of trades-skills and knowledge by students or apprentices in classrooms, workshops or in the workplace by using videos and the multimodal discourse analysis method.
Date - March 2011
This guide is written to help teachers /workplace trainers build capability to study the learning of trades-skills and knowledge by students or apprentices in classrooms, workshops or in the workplace using a specific research methodology.
This guide is presented as a ‘how-to-do’ manual. It may be used in conjunction with a series of workshops and/or elearning course, to learn how to use videos and the multimodal discourse analysis method to study how students learn. This guide provides:
- recommendations for collecting data using video and voice recorders while students or apprentices are engaged in real-world/situated learning or work activities,
- instructions on how to set up a project using the multimodal discourse analysis approach,
- direction on how to analyse data collected and,
- guidance on collating the findings into a report.
One of the reasons for producing this guide is to introduce the use of multimodal discourse analysis research methodology. This research method is a relatively new but skill intensive form of research (Erickson, 2006), that is useful for studying and understanding learning.
Multimodal discourse refers to the study of the various methods used by humans to communicate (the discourse) including using voice, writing and ‘body language’(the multimodalities). Multimodal discourse analysis details the processes used to scrutinise video data by studying the context and participants’ communications and interactions with others (both verbal and non-verbal).
Careful examination of video data may reveal aspects of learning not easily obtainable by other data collection methods (Erickson, 2006). Findings can then be applied towards enhancing the development of better learning opportunities for learners. This guide is compiled to provide an introduction to a research process that uses current technology (i.e. digital videos, digital voice recorders and data analysis tools) to investigate real-world activities.
Recommendations within this guide are derived from the learning and experiences from ongoing projects carried out at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) to study how students or apprentices learn trade skills. To provide background to the contents in this guide, an example of one project (Learning welding: Improving the learning of welding using peer-learning and feedback), is included in Appendix 1 of this report. Other examples worth studying are the work of Nuthall (2007) and de Saint Georges and Filliettaz (2008).
Additionally, examples from the projects used to help construct the guidelines provided in this report are detailed in boxes. These examples are used to help explain research concepts and model academic writing relevant for preparing research proposals and reports.
Here is an example:
Two research projects were undertaken to evaluate the suitability of multimodal discourse analysis. One examined the learning of full-time students as they attained welding skills, the other investigated the interactions between apprentices and their trainers as apprentices learned practical skills on building worksites.
Hints and pertinent recommendations made by the authors on research practice are marked with smiley faces
A suggested sequence to reading this guide is to:
- firstly skim read the document, without reading the boxed examples.
- secondly, read the report in Appendix 1 to provide an example for the type of research this guide introduces.
- Thirdly, undertake a more thorough reading of sections of this guide as required
The above recommendations are directed to readers of this guide who are new to the research process. If you are an experienced researcher, you might like to mine this guide for specific recommendations on using the multimodal discourse methodology. Details for conducting multimodal discourse study are found in Sections 5, 6 and 7.
This work is published under the Creative Commons 3.0 New Zealand Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence (BY-NC-SA). Under this licence you are free to copy, distribute, display and perform the work as well as to remix, tweak, and build upon this work noncommercially, as long as you credit the author/s and license your new creations under the identical terms.