Development of interactive pre-lab resources using Xerte with GoPro first-person video for chemistry

Reduce student cognitive load in-lab and improve learning outcomes using a set of pilot resources merging Xerte and first-person video, for interactive pre-lab resources that will support L4 students learning essential techniques.

Start date

April 2022

End date

July 2022


Recently several good examples of more interactive resources such as clickable videos of lab techniques have been published. Among these, first-person video resources (i.e. those recorded by GoPro etc.) have stood out as a way to help students visualise the tasks they will perform. This first-person view also has the advantage of avoiding the difficulty of filming techniques in fume hoods or where an experimenter’s hands will obstruct the view from a third-person perspective, as is common in some older resources.

While these published examples introduce some interactivity, this usually comes in the form of a video that is simply automatically paused at intervals to ask a question or give a prompt. Furthermore, these are typically specific to a single institution, meaning we could not easily adopt these materials directly at Surrey. The use of the Xerte platform showcased at previous Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences Teaching Fellow meetings has demonstrated a serious potential for truly interactive resources that incorporate 3D navigation, quizzing, interactive video and nonlinear progression; for example, in the School of Veterinary Medicine's interactive workbooks, and for digital chemistry ‘escape rooms’.

Although other platforms are available and in-use (e.g. Panopto or Articulate360), the nonlinearity and navigation aspects of Xerte most appeal to the aims of this project. As such, James proposes to blend these and create a set of pilot resources merging Xerte and first-person GoPro video, to create interactive pre-lab resources that will support FHEQ Level 4 students learning essential lab techniques. This combination could be especially powerful, as first-person interactive media in Xerte can enable students to visualise and perform tasks virtually, that they will perform for the first time shortly afterwards in the lab. It is hoped that this will reduce the cognitive load in-lab and enable more meaningful student learning.

Key outcomes

The main aim is to reduce student cognitive load in the lab session, and therefore improve learning outcomes in the lab sessions themselves.

We hope to:

  • Produce interactive Xerte-based resources using first-person video footage for FHEQ4 labs
  • Reduce students’ in-lab cognitive load
  • Improve student experimental outcomes and achievement of module learning objectives.

Funding amount



Research themes

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