Learning is undoubtedly more effective through visual interactive materials. Though traditional textbook continues to be a major educational resource, thanks to the Net, lecture videos are fast becoming an alternative learning tool.
As you may be aware, tens of hundreds of video tutorials on a variety of subjects are available. Brightstorm (http://www.brightstorm.com/), the service that offers several free videos on subjects such as science, mathematics and English is one of the good resources of this kind. In this regard, you may find a visit to the search directory WatchKnowLearn (http://www.watchknowlearn.org/default.aspx) beneficial in locating appropriate educational videos.
As discussed in the past, KhanAcademy (http://www.hindu.com/2010/11/01/stories/010110152672100.htm) is a wonderful educational resource containing concise educational videos on almost all topics.
The highlight of this project is its comprehensive nature. One can find videos that cover the entire spectrum of a subject — you can enter at a basic level and move over to more advanced topics. For instance, the mathematics section contains videos ranging from basic arithmetic to calculus.
Besides videos, KhanAcademy now offers exercise modules and other self-paced learning tools as well.
The growth of KhanAcademy, which has drawn the attention of stalwarts like Bill Gates (http://www.thegatesnotes.com/Topics/Education/Sals-Amazing-Global-Academy) and organisations like Google (http://www.project10tothe100.com/index.html), is certainly phenomenal. The impact of KhanAcademy videos on the traditional pedagogic systems is yet to be seen.
It has led to an evaluation by educationists through experiments to compare the classroom performance with and without Khan videos (http://blendmylearning.com/).
The success of the Khan project, whose videos are created single-handedly by one person (http://www.khanacademy.org/about/faq), offers us a few pedagogic wisdom bits or insights:
A person, whose basics are strong, can learn any subject, gain expertise and pass on that knowledge to others with ease.
Short videos, focussed solely on a topic, are more effective than longer ones. The Khan videos are of short duration and this might be a factor behind making the project a runaway success.
And, this is an instance of a valuable educational product created without adopting complex tools — KhanAcademy videos are produced with the help of simple tools like SmoothDraw and Camtasia Studio (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khan_Academy).
It seems the success of KhanAcademy has inspired some instructors to emulate its mode of production and lecture delivery style. The Youtube channel, ‘Mathematicalmonk' (http://www. youtube.com/user/mathematicalmonk) is an instance of this emerging trend. The site hosts videos on topics such as Probability and Machine Learning. The nature of the videos hosted on this site is similar to the ones available in KhanAcademy — short duration videos produced with simple tools like a pen tablet, SmoothDraw and so on.
Education does not mean learning core subjects (such as science, mathematics, history and the like) alone. Along with those subjects the pedagogic/home environment should offer facilities that help kids learn life lessons too — like how to deal with an antagonistic schoolmate, how to develop positive thinking, leadership qualities and so on. Videos that facilitate such learning tasks are also in place. Speakaboos (http://www.speakaboos.com/) is one such site that addresses this issue.
Teaching/learning projects that help you undertake on-line course on different subjects are also in place — like the community learning project P2PU (teaching/learning by peers for peers), discussed in the past. Yet another service thriving in this segment is the Alison (http://alison.com), an online resource that offers courseware on a variety of topics for free.