To be, or not to be…

When and how 360 degrees video enhance learning

Keynote at „Media & Learning“ Congress at Leuven, Belgium on 5th of June 2019


Videos mediate between content and context (situating). Videos mediate between the presented object and the recipient (relevance and intuition). Videos mediate between inner and outer view (self-reflection). Videos form a projection screen for a communicative exchange. And the production of videos supports the construction of knowledge by means of abstraction and visualization. As a product, videos have a documentary function, which can also be the basis for an assessment in academic context. Videos have a communicative function if, in the sense of a „social video learning“ (Vohle 2016), the visualized content becomes the subject of discussion. But videos also appear as tools (in a narrower sense) for cognitive activities in learning and research processes with different functions in different phases; to explore an actual state, to collect data, to analyze data, etc.

In a broader sense, the tool function of video lies in the aim of organizing the learning und research process: to represent the previous process, to communicate on the process itself, and to publish (demonstrate) the results, etc.

Due to the possibility of recording the environment in all directions and layers, 360-degree video technology substantially opens up new possibilities for the visualization of actions, the mediation of the spatial experience and the location of complex events. If the „origin of learning processes are authentic problematic situations which due to their level of reality and relevance motivate learners to acquire new knowledge or new skills“[1] (Mandl & Reinmann-Rothmeier, 1998, p. 198), then 360-degree videos, in terms of the Construct of Subjective Theories (Groeben et al., 1998), have an improved adaptation potential, compared to the fixed-frame video formats. 360-degree video allows for the users’ individual acquirement of the (learning) spaces, based on their own knowledge and interests. And the documented exploration of the (learning) spaces within the 360-degree video is itself an artifact, concluded based on the inter-individual behavior and reception patterns (Hebbel-Seeger & Diesch, 2019).

In view of the later reception environment (screen or HMD) as well as the intended learning objective, a 360-degree video production must be thought through more carefully than it is a case with “traditional” fixed-frame-video formats. Here, the aspects of immersion play a role as well as the possibilities of individual manipulation of the image section and the corresponding possible field of view.

In this contribution the peculiarities of 360-degree video are shown, the general conditions for video production and reception are outlined and examples of use as a teaching medium, learning tool and communication opportunity are discussed.


Groeben, N., Wahl, D., Schlee, J. & Scheele, B. (1988). Forschungsprogramm Subjektive Theorien. Tübingen: Hogrefe.

Hebbel-Seeger, A. & Diesch, A. (2019). Pattern while watching 360° videos. On the reception of immersive commercials. Athens Journal of Mass Media and Communications 5, 1, 35-49.

Mandl, H. & Reinmann-Rothmeier, G. (1998). Auf dem Weg zu einer neuen Kultur des Lehrens und Lernens. In G. Dörr & K.L. Jüngst (Hrsg.), Lernen mit Medien. Ergebnisse und Perspektiven zu medial vermittelten Lernprozessen (S. 193-205). Weinheim: Juventa.

Vohle, F. (2016). Social Video Learning. Eine didaktische Zäsur. In A.-W. Scheer & C. Wahter (Hrsg.), Digitale Bildungslandschaften (S. 175-185). Saarbrücken: IMC.

[1] Original Quote: „Ausgangspunkt von Lernprozessen sind authentische Problemsituationen, die aufgrund ihres Realitätsgehalts und ihrer Relevanz dazu motivieren, neues Wissen oder neue Fertigkeiten zu erwerben.“

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