Video has been used to reduce or obviate the need to use live animals in my teaching in physiology practical laboratories at Massey University for many years but its effectivenes as a stand-alone learning aid is questionable. This paper presents the results of an attempt to assess the effectiveness of video compared with computer-based learning (CBL) using QuickTime video (QTv) clips sourced from the same video. A group of 48 third-semester veterinary science students viewed a 30 minute section of video and later worked through a HyperCard stack which incorporated QTv clips from the same video. Students were randomly assigned to either view the video before the CBL or vice versa. Then the students were required to fill-out an anonymous questionnaire to determine their experience with computers, prior expectations and opinions of ease of use, information level, likes and dislikes. Analysis revealed that computer experience was limited, some expected the CBL would be difficult. CBL users liked the video clips, the colour pictures, the interactive quizzes and the ease of use. Video was ranked as being too passive and boring and could not allow interactivity in a group-viewing situation. Overall, 64% of students prefered CBL to the video but some students (23% of respondents) preferred use of both methods. A smaller proportion (13%) preferred video to CBL.
Pairing the results from the same video viewed separately and also incorporated CBL, removed the largest obstacle to such a comparison in that the source material was the same.
The main conclusion was that most students preferred CBL but retaining use of some quality video might be desirable if used with small groups to allow pause and playback if required.