Academic journal article International Education Studies

Assessing the Use of YouTube Videos and Interactive Activities as a Critical Thinking Stimulator for Tertiary Students: An Action Research

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Assessing the Use of YouTube Videos and Interactive Activities as a Critical Thinking Stimulator for Tertiary Students: An Action Research

Article excerpt


The purpose of this action research was to investigate the use of YouTube videos and interactive activities in stimulating critical thinking among students from a public university in Malaysia. There were 50 students of mixed background, comprised of local and foreign students who participated in this study which lasted for one semester. Data was collected using a few approaches which included video recording of the lessons, students' and researcher's reflections and role play. In this paper, we specifically focus on the students' reflections of their experience while using YouTube videos. Thematic analysis was conducted to examine the themes that emerged in their reflections. Using Lewin's Action research model supported by Constructivism Theory, a-four stage action research consisted of planning, acting, observing and reflecting were conducted. We found that YouTube Videos were fun and interesting, increased students' participation and engagement and enhanced their critical thinking skills. The students were able to participate actively and demonstrated strong interest in the learning process as they were able to understand lectures better by visualizing the content and relating it to real workplace. Our study revealed the potential of YouTube video as a tool for stimulating students' learning and enhancing their critical thinking.

Keywords: critical thinking, tertiary education, YouTube, action research, constructivism

1. Introduction

The importance of critical thinking has received the attention of many parties in Malaysia ranging from educators to future employers (Ismail, 2011; Shah, 2011; Eldy & Sulaiman, 2013). As such, having good grades alone do not promise employment for graduates in Malaysia. Studies have shown that in order for Malaysian graduates to be employed, they must possess a good command of language with sound analytical thinking, intelligence, independence, leadership, communication and computer skills and work experience (Ismail, 2011). It has been reported that Malaysian graduates failed to meet the expectations of the prospective employers. In fact, there has been a rise in the criticism towards the Malaysian graduates as having a lack of scientific and technical knowledge, critical and creative thinking ability as well as poor communication skills (The Star, 2012). On top of that, the industrial players continuously complained about the quality of the Malaysian graduates which created a need for more research to be carried out to identify causes of such problems (Eldy & Sulaiman, 2013). In addition, studies also revealed that the current state of the problems which have contributed to the incompetency of the Malaysian graduates was due to the failure of the present education system (Othman, 1994; Baharun, 1998).

Evidence on the lack of cognitive thinking skills among the Malaysian students has been alarming given the report carried out by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Trend in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) (Malaysia Education Blueprint, 2012). The studies by TIMSS and PISA were mainly assessing the cognitive ability such as knowing, application, reasoning and applying of knowledge in real world settings. The TIMSS study in 2007 found that the average performance of students in Malaysia in both Mathematics and Science had been deteriorating and fell below the international average even though in 1999, Malaysian students performed above the international average The study also found that 18% and 20% of Malaysian students failed to meet the minimum proficiency levels in Mathematics and Science, even though it was 2 to 4 times increase from 7% and 5% respectively as compared to 2003 (Malaysia Education Blueprint, 2012). In addition, the PISA results in 2009 indicated that Malaysia was ranked 3rd from the bottom among the 74 participating nations whereby approximately 60% of the 15 year old Malaysian students participated in the assessment, failed to meet the minimum proficiency level in Mathematics, while 44% and 43% did not meet the minimum proficiency level in Reading and Science. …

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