Students’ Experiences of Tippy Tube Video-assisted Learning during the COVID-19 Lockdown in an Open and Distance Learning Environment




Tippy Tube, mathematics education, dialogue, structure, autonomy


The University of South Africa (Unisa) College of Education (CEDU) set up Tippy Tube as an online educational video channel to engage lecturers around the country. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which was declared a global pandemic on 11 March 2020, imposed a lockdown period from February to August 2021. This article reports on a study that explored how the use of Tippy Tube optimised support to first-year mathematics education students at Unisa during the lockdown. Moore’s Transactional Distance Theory (TDT) underpinned the study. The study used a qualitative research design to explore students’ views on whether the Tippy Tube tool had optimised student support in the mathematics education module during the lockdown. The module has five units and five Tippy Tube videos were developed for each unit. Open-ended questionnaires were administered to 100 purposively sampled first-year mathematics education students. Only 21 respondents completed the questionnaires. Thematic analysis was then used to analyse the data from the open-ended questionnaire responses. The findings of the study revealed that Tippy Tube video-assisted learning had benefitted the students in mathematics education. Further, the study findings suggested that lecturers can consider using the Tippy Tube tool to teach students mathematics and other disciplines as they are able to replay the videos for the purpose of clarity if they did not understand the videos during live presentations.


Abbas, N. F., and T. A. Qassim. 2020. “Investigating the Effectiveness of YouTube as a Learning Tool among EFL Students at Baghdad University.” Arab World English Journal Special Issue on Call 6: 344–356. DOI:

Alakhudayidi, M. D. 2018. “Investigating Factors that Influence the Use of YouTube in Teaching Biology in High Schools in Saudi Arabia Based on the Technology Acceptance Model.” Electronic Comprehensive Journal for Education and Science Publications 13: 1–10. DOI:

Almurashi, W. A. 2016. “The Effective Use of YouTube Videos for Teaching English Language in Classrooms as Supplementary Material at Taibah University in Alula.” International Journal of English Language and Linguistics Research 4 (3): 32–47.

Burgess, J., and J. Green. 2009. YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture. Malden: Polity Press.

Chen, Y. J. 2001. “Transactional Distance in World Wide Web Learning Environments.” Innovations in Education and Teaching International 55 (4): 327–338. DOI:

Chen, C. M., and C. H. Wu. 2015. “Effects of Different Video Lecture Types on Sustained Attention, Emotion, Cognitive Load, and Learning Performance.” Computers and Education 80: 108–121. DOI:

Creswell, J. W., and J. D. Creswell. 2018. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative & Mixed Methods Approaches. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

Force, D. 2004. “Relationships among Transactional Distance Variables in Asynchronous Computer Conferences: A Correlation Study.” Master of Distance Education thesis, Athabasca University, Alberta.

Giossos, Y., M. Koutsouba, A. Lionarakis, and K. Skavantzos. 2009. “Reconsidering Moore’s Transactional Distance Theory.” European Journal of Open Distance and eLearning 2: 1–6.

Green, J. C., T. Aziz, J. Joseph, A. Ravanam, S. Shahab, and L. Straus. 2018. “YouTube Enhanced Case Teaching in Health Management and Policy.” Health Professions Education 4 (1): 48–58. DOI:

Johnson, B., and L. Christensen. 2012. Educational Research. 4th ed. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Jordaan, M., and A. J. J. Jordaan. 2017. “Using YouTube as a Reflection Tool for a Service-learning Module.” In Proceedings of the 4th Biennial Conference of the South African Society for Engineering Education, Cape Town, June 14–15.

Kim, S., and H. C. Kim. 2021. “The Benefits of YouTube in Learning English as a Second Language: A Qualitative Investigation of Korean Freshman Students’ Experiences and Perspectives in the U.S.” Sustainability 13 (13): 7365. DOI:

Kremer, M., C. Brannen, and R. Glennerster. 2013. “The Challenge of Education and Learning in the Developing World.” Science 340 (6130): 297–300. DOI:

Long, T., J. Logan, and M. Waugh. 2016. “Students’ Perceptions of the Value of Using Videos as a Pre-class Learning Experience in the Flipped Classroom.” Tech Trends 60: 245–252. DOI:

Maziriri, E. T., P. Gapa, and T. Chuchu. 2020. “Student Perceptions towards the Use of YouTube as an Educational Tool for Learning and Tutorials.” International Journal of Instruction 13 (2): 119–138. DOI:

McIsaac, M., and C. Gunawardena. 1996. “Distance Education.” In Handbook of Research for Educational Communications and Technology: A Project of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, edited by D. H. Jonassen, 403–437. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Moore, M. 1997. “Theory of Transactional Distance.” In Theoretical Principles of Distance Education, edited by D. Keegan, 22–38. New York: Routledge.

Nacak, A., B. Bağlama, and B. Demir. 2020. “Teacher Candidate Views on the Use of YouTube for Educational Purposes.” Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies 10 (2): 1–9. DOI:

Pham, H., K. Farrell, H. Vu, and Q. H. Vuong. 2017. “Using YouTube Videos to Promote Universities: A Content Analysis.” Technics Technologies Education Management 12 (1): 58–72.

Pratama, S. H. H., R. A. Arifin, and A. W. S. Widianingsih. 2020. “The Use of YouTube as a Learning Tool in Teaching Listening Skill.” International Journal of Global Operations Research 1 (3): 123–129. DOI:

Schaper, E., J. P. Ehlers, M. Dilly, E. Crowther, and S. Baillie. 2014. “Using YouTube to Share Teaching Resources.” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245 (4): 372–373. DOI:

Williamson, K., and G. Johanson. 2018. Research Methods, Information, Systems, and Contexts. 2nd ed. Oxford: Chandos.

YouTube. 2013. “About YouTube.” Accessed August 19, 2021.




How to Cite

Makgakga, Tšhegofatšo P. “Students’ Experiences of Tippy Tube Video-Assisted Learning During the COVID-19 Lockdown in an Open and Distance Learning Environment”. Progressio, 17 pages.



Received 2022-03-29
Accepted 2023-05-04
Published 2023-06-06