Self-paced learning of math and physics by blending of video clips and exercise sheets

To obtain mastery of physics and math concepts, the faculty of Engineering Science of KU Leuven organizes, just as many other institutes, problem solving sessions in smaller groups. Students start solving problems and exercises, designed to challenge misconceptions and threshold concepts, and get stuck at a certain point. At that point, they start discussing with peers and ask for help from teachers and teaching assistants. Teachers and teaching assistants start to help individually (tutoring) and end up with some explanation in front of the whole class. This approach is limited by the available teaching staff and in our experience often forces students to work at the same pace.
Well-experienced teachers can accurately predict, or even trigger by design, the points at which students need assistance. Teachers subsequently have tailored explanations that on the one hand assist the students but on the other hand challenge their understanding. Such experienced teachers are however considered as scarce resources. We explored how the use of short videos, a kind of “first-aid”-videos developed by the experienced teachers, can support exercise sessions. The result of this exploration is a blended approach of more traditional exercise sheets augmented with QR-codes that point to supportive videos. The QR-codes have proven to be an easy but efficient way to connect the videos with the exercise sheets. During the live sessions, teachers get more time to help students individually, since the time spend by classical explantions decreases. Also at home, students can use the "first-aid" video's, which makes it less necessary to force students at the same pace.
Summarizing, we implemented a blended approach of exercise sheets, live tutoring ,and video hints that supports just-in-time and tailored support for students during mathematics and physics exercise sessions.