Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Student Voices: A Critical Reflective Exploration of an Online Groupwork Video Analysis Task During the COVID-19 Pandemic


The shift to online learning in universities prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic impacted field learning, an important component in nature conservation qualifications. Academics used video resources as an alternative approach to mitigate related challenges. This case study critically reflects on students’ experiences and views on the use of an internet video and WhatsApp text messaging to complete a groupwork task in a conservation module offered at a university in South Africa. The video content focused on threats to rare indigenous plant species in South Africa. Data were collected using an online electronic questionnaire (n=26) and through the analysis of five group-discussion text-messaging transcripts. Mixed-method analysis was used to analyse the data. Descriptive analysis was used to analyse the closed questions in the questionnaire, and qualitative analysis was used for the open questions and transcripts. Ethical protocols were followed, with anonymity and confidentiality maintained. The findings, amongst others, indicate that overall, students agreed that the video promoted their understanding of threats to rare indigenous plants (76.9%); most students watched the video more than three times (84.6%); students had a positive response to the use of text messaging for group discussions (91.6%); and evident in the transcripts was active group engagement. Overall, WhatsApp text messaging facilitated student discussions in the asynchronous group work video analysis task. This reinforces underlying social constructivist pedagogy, which facilitates the integration of course content with group interaction and promotes critical thinking and problem-solving in a post-COVID-19 society.


WhatsApp, WhatsApp Text Messaging, Online Learning, Video Analysis, Groupwork, South Africa



  1. Adams, B., & Wilson, N. S. (2020). Building community in asynchronous online higher education courses through collaborative annotation. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 49(2), 250-261. DOI:
  2. Agrawal, S. R., & Mittal, D. (2019). Constructive Usage of WhatsApp in Education Sector for Strengthening Relations. International Journal of Educational Management, 33(5), 954-954-964. DOI 10.1108/IJEM-07-2018-0205 DOI:
  3. Akpan, V. I., Igwe, U., Mpamah, I., & Okoro, C. (2020). Social constructivism: implications on teaching and learning. British Journal of Education, 8(8), 49-56. ISSN: ISSN 2054-636X
  4. Barhoumi, C. (2015). The Effectiveness of WhatsApp mobile learning activities guided by activty theory on students' knowledge management. Contemporary Educational Technology, 6(3), 221-238. DOI:
  5. Basar, Z. M., Mansor, A. N., Jamaludin, K. A., & Alias, B. S. (2021). The Effectiveness and Challenges of Online Learning for Secondary School Students – A Case Study. Asian Journal of University Education, 17(3), 119-129. DOI:
  6. Bernier, A., & Stenstrom, C. (2016). Moving from chance and “chemistry” 'to skills: Improving online student learning outcomes in small group collaboration. Education for Information, 32(1), 55-69. DOI:10.3233/EFI-150960 DOI:
  7. Boateng, R., Boateng, S. L., Awuah, R. B., Ansong, E., & Anderson, A. B. (2016). Videos in learning in higher education: assessing perceptions and attitudes of students at the University of Ghana. Smart Learning Environments, 3(1), 1-13. DOI:
  8. Carswell, A. D., & Venkatesh, V. (2002). Learner outcomes in an asynchronous distance education environment. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 56(5), 475-494. DOI:
  9. Chandler, J. D., & Teckchandani, A. (2015). Using social constructivist pedagogy to implement liberal learning in business education. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 13(3), 327-348. DOI:
  10. Chiparra, W. E. M., Suca-Apaza, G. R., Rosales-Dominguez, E. G., & Fern, D. (2022). Use of WhatsApp in Synchronous and Asynchronous Education in Students of the IV Cycle of Peruvian basic Education. Webology, 19(1), 1958-1965. DOI:
  11. Diab, P., Matthews, M., & Gokool, R. (2016). Medical students' views on the use of video technology in the teaching of isiZulu communication, language skills and cultural competence. African Journal of Health Professions Education, 8(1), 11-14. DOI:
  12. Finnegan, M., & Ginty, C. (2019). Moodle and social constructivism: Is Moodle being used as constructed? A case study analysis of Moodle use in teaching and learning in an Irish Higher Educational Institute. All Ireland Journal of Higher Education, 11(1). 1-21.
  13. Govender, Samantha., & Pillay, Rajendran. (2018). University students’ response to group work in life sciences – a social and cognitive perspective. Journal of Educational Studies, 17 (2), 42 – 59.
  14. Hammar Chiriac, E. (2014). Group work as an incentive for learning–students’ experiences of group work. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 558. DOI:
  15. Hedding, D. W., Greve, M., Breetzke, G. D., Nel, W., & Van Vuuren, B. J. (2020). COVID-19 and the academe in South Africa: Not business as usual. South African Journal of Science, 116(7-8), 1-3. DOI:
  16. Holmes, A. G. (2019). Constructivist Learning in University Undergraduate Programmes. Has Constructivism Been Fully Embraced? Is There Clear Evidence That Constructivist Principles Have Been Applied to All Aspects of Contemporary University Undergraduate Study? Shanlax International Journal of Education, 8(1), 7-15. education.v8i1.819 DOI:
  17. Holzer, J., Lüftenegger, M., Korlat, S., Pelikan, E., Salmela-Aro, K., Spiel, C., & Schober, B. (2021). Higher education in times of COVID-19: University students’ basic need satisfaction, self-regulated learning, and well-being. Aera Open, 7, 23328584211003164. DOI:
  18. Ivankova Nataliya V., John W. Creswell, and Vikki L. Plano Clark. 2016. “Foundations and Approaches to Mixed Method Research.” In First Steps in Research, edited by Kobus Maree, 306–336. Pretoria: Van Schaik.
  19. Jackson, E. A. (2020). The Use of WhatsApp for Flexible Learning: Its Effectiveness in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Sierra Leone’s Higher Education Institutions. International Journal of Advanced Corporate Learning, 13(1), 35-35-47. doi:10.3991/ijac.v13i1.11381 DOI:
  20. Kazancıoğlu, S., & Bodur, H. (2021). Analysis of videos about malaria on YouTube: Evaluation of the Turkish and English content. Turkish Bulletin of Hygiene & Experimental Biology/Türk Hijyen ve Deneysel Biyoloji, 78(4), 476-476 DOI:
  21. König, J., Jäger-Biela, D. J., & Glutsch, N. (2020). Adapting to online teaching during COVID-19 school closure: teacher education and teacher competence effects among early career teachers in Germany. European Journal of Teacher Education, 43(4), 608-622. DOI:
  22. Lampara, E. C. L., & Maquiling, J. (2021). The Effect of Video Analysis on Students’ Motivation of Learning Physics. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Innovation in Education, Science and Culture, ICIESC 2021, 31 August 2021, Medan, North Sumatera Province, Indonesia. DOI:
  23. McKinney, P., & Sen, B. (2016). The use of technology in group-work: A situational analysis of students' reflective writing. Education for Information, 32(4), 375-396. DOI:
  24. Mason, Jennifer. (2002). Qualitative Researching. Sage Publications. London.
  25. Nomura, O., Irie, J., Park, Y., Nonogi, H., & Hanada, H. (2021). Evaluating effectiveness of YouTube videos for teaching medical students CPR: solution to optimizing clinician educator workload during the COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(13), 7113. DOI:
  26. Nugent, S. (2019). Exploring the use of social constructivist methodologies in teacher practice and student engagement in chemistry. Unpublished DEd thesis, Trinity College Dublin.
  27. Pather, S., & Cupido, X. (2020). Understanding Academics‟ Adaptation to Learning and Teaching during a crisis. Proceedings of ICERI Conference, November 2020. DOI:
  28. Pillay, Rajendran P, Padayachee, Vasanthie, Govender, Samantha. & Ndabandaba, Sipho P. (2021). A Collaborative Critical Reflection: ‘No Student Should Be Left Behind’ – Efforts Towards Equality and Quality in the ‘New Normal’. Multicultural Education, 7 (12): 57-74. 10.5281/zenodo.5762462
  29. Ramachandran Kandethody M. & Tsokos, Chris P. (2009). Mathematical statistics with applications. Elsevier Academic Press. California.
  30. Secore, S. (2017). Social constructivism in online learning: Andragogical influence and the effectual educator. e-mentor 3(70), 4-9. DOI:
  31. Seufert, M., Hoßfeld, T., Schwind, A., Burger, V., & Tran-Gia, P. (2016). Group-based communication in WhatsApp. Paper presented at the 2016 IFIP networking conference (IFIP networking) and workshops. DOI:
  32. Srinivasa, K., Chen, Y., & Henning, M. A. (2020). The role of online videos in teaching procedural skills to post-graduate medical learners: A systematic narrative review. Medical Teacher, 42(6), 689-697. DOI:
  33. Thampinathan, S. (2022). The application of the constructivism learning theory to physician assistant students in primary care. Education for Health, 35(1), 26. DOI:
  34. Wargadinata, W., Maimunah, I., Eva, D., & Rofiq, Z. (2020). Student’s responses on learning in the early COVID-19 pandemic. Tadris: Journal of Education and Teacher Training, 5(1), 141-153. DOI:
  35. Willis, S. C., Jones, A., Bundy, C., Burdett, K., Whitehouse, C., & O'Neill, P. (2002). Small-group work and assessment in a PBL curriculum: a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of student perceptions of the process of working in small groups and its assessment. Medical Teacher, 24(5), 495-501. DOI:
  36. Zhang, J., Ding, Y., Yang, X., Zhong, J., Qiu, X., Zou, Z., . . . Huang, J. (2022). COVID-19’s impacts on the scope, effectiveness, and interaction characteristics of online learning: A social network analysis. PLoS ONE, 17(8), e0273016. DOI:


Download data is not yet available.