Using Lightboard to Design Innovative Learning Videos

Sandra HildebrandAmberg-Weiden (GER), April 2022 - The use of a lightboard is still a relatively new technique in the production of explanatory instructional videos. Sandra Hildebrand, a research assistant in the Cybersecurity Learning Lab at Regensburg, Germany’s Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule (OTH), spoke with CHECK.point eLearning about the benefits of this video technology and scenarios for its application. She will present the method at the LEARNTEC Congress on 02 June 2022 at 16:15.

What is the difference between learning videos designed with a lightboard and previous production techniques?

Sandra Hildebrand: Instructional video formats vary significantly, from recorded lectures and demonstrations of experiments, to animated stories. Each type has its own advantages, disadvantages, and areas of application. Lightboard videos are instructional videos in which a person explains a topic and is able to write notes or make sketches as would be done on a whiteboard. A lightboard, however, is transparent and stands between the camera and the presenter, allowing the viewers to see the person’s face, as well as the text being written, during the writing process. This means the presenter does not obscure the writing; in the video, it appears as if the notes are being written in the air.


What equipment and production conditions are required?
Sandra Hildebrand: All that’s needed is a lightboard - which is basically merely a glass chalkboard - a camera, software or hardware (e.g. a mirror) to reverse the image, and suitable lights. In addition, except for the illumination necessary for the photography, the recording room must be completely dark.

Since the proper setup is crucial for the effect of the floating text, it is a good idea to install the equipment in a fixed location and operate the lightboard from there.

Beyond the setup, the production is not particularly complex. Editing the videos is not recommended due to the single frontal camera perspective, which means the instructor has to be well prepared. After some practice, the production takes about as much time as the video itself. The only post-production involves flipping the video output if software is used rather than a mirror during recording - and possibly slight color correction.


What didactic advantages does the use of lightboard-based videos offer for multimedia learning?

Sandra Hildebrand: Of course merely using lightboard videos does not lead to better learning. They have to be integrated into a well-thought-out learning concept. Having said this, the lightboard approach does offer some apparent advantages from a didactic point of view.

The instructor’s presence creates a more personal situation than is possible, for example, in animated videos. In addition, and the essence of the lightboard concept, is that the speaker does not turn away from the learners when writing: she or he is continuously facing the audience. The resulting experience is significantly more personal for the learners than other instructional videos.

The lightboard offers the speaker the opportunity to interact with the sketches, to refer to them, and to gradually expand on them. Since the classroom situation with a standard blackboard is usually a familiar one for teachers, they frequently comment that the lightboard makes it easier for them to present content in a more natural and relaxed way - and to address learners directly. This makes it possible to apply almost all of the principles of multimedia learning established by R. E. Mayer, in particular signaling, modality, and simultaneous presentation - which can be achieved very easily and intuitively.


In which areas are lightboard-based instructional videos particularly useful and supportive?

Sandra Hildebrand: In our cybersecurity learning lab, the lightboard is used in two situations. The first is in the creation of on-demand videos explaining complex topics that can be illustrated with simple hand sketches. Producing this type of videos is easier and faster with the lightboard than animation. The other is in live online trainings, in which the instructor gains the possibility to create hand sketches when answering questions.

A lightboard makes sense in digital teaching-learning scenarios in which the instructor gives the explanations orally, and sketches or notes are presented for illustration.