Session 1C -Paper 1 | 31 Days of December – supporting students to practise their phonetics skills over the winter break using h5p

Professor Rachael-Anne Knight – City, University of London, School of Health Sciences, Division of Language and Communication Science

Steve McCombe and Thomas Hanley – City, University of London, LEaD Digital Education


The work presented is the use of h5p to inspire and motivate students to practise their transcription skills over the winter break, in preparation for a January assessment. This fun learning and teaching approach helps to support students in their revision and to succeed in their programme.

Students of speech and language therapy / science must transcribe speech using a set of symbols from the International Phonetic Alphabet (HCPC, 2014, p.13).  The phonetics viva is the ultimate test of students’ transcription skills. However, students are anxious about the viva (Knight, Dipper and Cruice, 2013, 2018), which takes place in January, and feel they would benefit from additional learning activities over the winter break.

To address this need, we developed the ‘31 days of December’, built in h5p, using the ‘multiple hotspots’ feature (see e.g. Wilkie et al., 2018).  The resource is an interactive calendar with one video-based transcription activity for every day of December.  Videos are constructively aligned (Biggs, 1996) to module content and to the upcoming viva assessment, motivating students to take part.  The activities rotate through the sections of the viva, and completing one exercise a day means that revision is spaced and interleaved, which has been shown to improve performance in assessments (Rohrer and Taylor, 2006).  However, the calendar also provides the flexibility for students to work at their own pace if required.  Whilst initially inspired by an advent calendar, and events like the 12 apps of Christmas, the resource was made more inclusive by choosing a background image of a winter scene, and by finishing on the 31st, rather than 25th, of December.  Although not formally evaluated, the resource has received 692 views by 43 users (91% of the cohort), and further analysis will be completed from module evaluations.

The  approach is not restricted to activities in phonetics or health sciences. Any discipline could follow a similar learning and teaching approach to encourage students to refresh their knowledge and practise their skills. The h5p calendar is fun, and, by encouraging a revision approach based on spacing and interleaving, supports students through their programmes.

Slides from the session

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Recording of the session:


Biggs, J., 1996. Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. Higher education, 32(3), pp.347-364.

HCPC., 2014. Standards of Proficiency: Speech and Language Therapists

Knight, R.A., Dipper, L. and Cruice, M., 2018. Viva survivors–the effect of peer-mentoring on pre-viva anxiety in early-years students. Studies in Higher Education43(1), pp.190-199.

Knight, R.A., Dipper, L. and Cruice, M., 2013. The use of video in addressing anxiety prior to viva voce exams. British Journal of Educational Technology44(6), pp.E217-E219.

Rohrer, D. and Taylor, K., 2007. The shuffling of mathematics problems improves learning. Instructional Science35(6), pp.481-498.

Wilkie, S., Zakaria, G., McDonald, T. and Borland, R., 2018. Considerations for designing H5P online interactive activities. Open Oceans: Learning without borders. Proceedings ASCILITE, pp.543-549.


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