One part of co-creation — letting students create learning content for each other — has always been fascinating to me. The idea is that in order to create meaningful materials for others, they have to develop a good grasp of the material themselves, figure out a sequence, fill any gaps in prior knowledge, etc.. Also the materials that are being produced might feel more relevant to peers because they come from their own peer group, might be more current in the way they are presented, … But how well does content co-creation actually work to support learning?
The impact of content co-creation on academic achievement (Doyle et al., 2021)
In this study, students create content for their peers in two different ways: contributing multiple-choice questions (MCQs) on course content to a database that students can use to study for the exam, or creating 3 minute videos on course content which were then shared through the learning management system.
Having students generate MCQs has been reported as a positive experience in earlier literature: Students often contribute more questions than they were assigned, and the quality of student-generated questions is usually found to be good.
Student-generated videos are quite a lot of work beyond just mastering the actual learning outcomes, because they also require e.g. skills in software use, and many iterations of refinement going through a script, potentially filming multiple times, editing, etc.. But this does expose the students to the same content repeatedly, so can have a positive effect on learning (at least when the focus doesn’t move too much towards technical details). When videos are also shared on social media and thus (highly) visible, students tend to put in more effort than if they submit for only their instructor’s eyes. Students take on a high degree of ownership, not just for their learning but for the whole product.
In this specific study, Doyle et al. (2021) found that co-creating content is beneficial to learning, both when creating MCQs and videos, with no significant differences between the two methods*. Of course, that might be a coincidence because of the two methods that were picked, and other methods could be more or less effective. But since both are methods we commonly use, it’s at least good to know that they’ve been shown to be effective in this setting!
*They also looked into learning styles and how they affect learning outcomes, but I found that part less useful so I’m referring to the original article below if you want to read about it :)
Doyle, E., Buckley, P., & McCarthy, B. (2021). The impact of content co-creation on academic achievement. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 46(3), 494-507.
I have found this (student MCQs) helpful in practice with my students using apps like Quizlet and Kahoots. It is helpful to have some curation, though discussion of this process with students leads to better results in future iterations.
If you fancy writing a guest post about your experiences, you’d be super welcome! :)