Structuring Video Cases to Support Future Teachers’ Problem Solving

May. 10, 2012

Source: Journal of Research on Technology in Education, Vol. 44, No. 3, pp. 177–204, (2012)
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study examined the problem-solving skills of preservice teachers through the use of an online video case with question prompts.

The participants were eighty preservice teachers in the teacher education program of a mid-Atlantic university.
This research was a three-level video presentation (Entire, Segmented, Sequenced) by two-grade-level (Elementary, Secondary) between subjects factorial design.
The study incorporates a content analysis framework to examine both the components and the levels of teaching knowledge elicited during a problem-solving activity.


The findings provided explanations for preservice teachers’ ability to use their teaching knowledge in video-based problem solving.
The findings indicate that, although the participants drew from at least one teaching knowledge component at any stage of the problem-solving process, they rarely used their content knowledge.
The authors considered two explanations for this finding.
First, the classroom video presented in the study may not be complex enough to require high cognitive and metacognitive demands from the participants, leaving enough mental resources for them to still process the information meaningfully if they were to view the video continuously (Entire).
Second, watching the entire video may have still helped participants understand the complexity of the case more holistically, negating the easy processing of its segmented pieces.
Seeing the problem and the case teacher’s solution continuously may be more beneficial than seeing the problem first, then the solution separately (Segmented).
In contrast, the lack of complexity and entirety of the classroom case may have prevented participants from gaining such an additional perspective, even though they may have easily processed the content of the segmented video.

In addition, the results reveal that the elementary education preservice teachers generated pedagogical and content solutions at a higher level than the secondary education preservice teachers.
For instance, elementary education majors were better than their secondary education counterparts in terms of drawing from various knowledge components simultaneously (Student, Environment, Teacher, and Content) when they generated solutions.
Likewise, elementary education majors in this study may be more knowledgeable about diverse instructional techniques, whereas secondary education majors may be conditioned to employ whole-classroom instruction in teaching content areas.
Furthermore, the analysis revealed that presentation order had little effect on elementary education majors’ ability to demonstrate more complex problem-solving skills.


This research study has important implications regarding teacher education program design and video case structure for supporting preservice teachers’ problem solving.
This study confirms previous research in terms of the possible discrepancies between elementary and secondary education preservice teachers’ approaches to teaching.
The results showed that due to their possible greater knowledge of diverse learner-centered strategies, elementary education majors were able to generate solutions exemplifying a higher level of teaching knowledge than that of secondary education majors’ solutions.
The findings also illuminated how the classroom and teacher reflection videos with question prompts may be structured.
First, this study recommends that the teacher reflection videos be segmented as a means of directing preservice teachers to think about the observed teaching/learning problem differently and to prompt them to use multiple knowledge components when considering effective instructional solutions.

Second, the findings indicated that the decision for segmenting classroom videos should take the presented teaching situation into account.
Since segmenting the classroom video may be more effective to support preservice teachers’ problem solving if the video case presents a more complex case, pushing them to consider different alternative solutions in their case analysis.

Finally, as a third strategy, the study suggests segmenting the classroom videos based on the differences between the participants’ preferred teaching approach and the one demonstrated in the case.
Showing both the problem and the teacher’s approach in one classroom video may be more effective than segmenting it if the case highlights a teaching strategy that preservice teachers may not be familiar with or are unlikely to employ in their practices.

Updated: Dec. 20, 2015