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Educational Videos That Work

Dec 14

Higher education has embraced educational videos as a vital component. It is used in traditional courses, is a cornerstone of many blended courses, and is frequently the primary method of material delivery in MOOCs. Several meta-analyses have demonstrated that technology may improve learning (e.g., Schmid et al., 2014), and numerous research have demonstrated that video, in particular, can be a very effective instructional tool (e.g., Kay, 2012; Allen and Smith, 2012; Lloyd and Robertson, 2012; Rackaway, 2012; Hsin and Cigas, 2013). However, in order for video to be a useful component of a learning experience, the teacher must consider the following criteria for video design and implementation:

These factors, taken together, form a solid foundation for the creation and use of video as an effective instructional medium.

Workload on the mind

Cognitive load is one of the most important factors to consider when creating educational materials, including video. Sweller and colleagues (1988, 1989, 1994) proposed the Cognitive Load Theory, which states that memory is made up of various components (see the figure). Sensory memory is a temporary sort of memory that collects data from the environment. Sensory memory information can be chosen for temporary storage and processing in working memory, which has a finite capacity. This processing is required for encoding into long-term memory, which has an almost limitless storage capacity. Because working memory is limited, learners must be selective in what sensory memory information they pay attention to during the learning process, an insight with significant consequences for educational materials development.

Cognitive Load Theory says that all learning experience includes three components based on this memory model (see the figure). The first is intrinsic load, which is inherent to the subject under investigation and is influenced in part by the degree of connectedness within it. A word pair (e.g., blue = azul) is a frequent example of a topic with low intrinsic load, but grammar has a high intrinsic load due to its multiple layers of interconnection and conditional linkages. The second component of any learning experience is relevant load, which is the amount of cognitive work required to achieve the intended learning outcome—for example, to draw comparisons, conduct analyses, and clarify the processes required to master the lesson. The learner's ultimate objective with these exercises is to assimilate the subject under study into a schema of deeply related concepts. Extraneous load, or cognitive effort that does not assist the learner in achieving the targeted learning outcome, is the third component of a learning experience. It is sometimes described as load resulting from a badly structured lesson (e.g., unclear directions, excess material), but it may also be load resulting from stereotype threat or impostor syndrome. In an outstanding analysis by de Jong, these principles are more clearly stated and to some extent challenged (2010).

The consequences of these concepts for the design of educational products and experiences are significant. When creating learning experiences, teachers should aim to reduce extraneous cognitive burden and consider the subject's intrinsic cognitive load, carefully arranging them when the content has a high intrinsic load. Because working memory has a limited capacity and information must be processed before being recorded in long-term memory, it's critical to direct working memory to receive, process, and transfer only the most critical information to long-term memory (Ibrahim et al., 2012).


Learning that is active

It's critical to provide students tools to assist them absorb material and check their own knowledge in order for them to get the most out of an instructional film. There are several viable ways to accomplish this.

Use leading questions to help you. In an introductory psychology session, Lawson and colleagues looked at the influence of leading questions on students' learning from a movie about social psychology (2006). They had students in some portions of the course view the movie with no extra instructions, while students in other sections of the course were given eight leading questions to ponder while watching, based on Kreiner's (1997) work. On a subsequent test, students who answered the guided questions while watching the film performed much better.

Make use of interactive elements that allow students to take charge. In a computer science course, Zhang and colleagues investigated the effects of interactive versus non-interactive video on students' learning (2006). Students who were able to regulate their journey through the video, picking critical areas to study and traveling backwards when necessary, had higher accomplishment and satisfaction with their learning results. Using YouTube Annotate, HapYak, or similar tool to inject labeled "chapters" into a video is an easy approach to accomplish this degree of interaction. This has the added benefit of providing students control while also demonstrating structure and raising the lesson's relevant load.

Incorporate quizzes within the video. Instructors may use tools like HapYak to embed questions directly into video and provide feedback depending on student responses. In pre-service instructors, Vural compared the effect of interactive video with embedded questions versus interactive video without embedded questions, finding that the embedded questions enhanced students' performance on subsequent exams (2013).

The crucial thing to remember is that viewing a movie, like reading, may be a passive experience. To get the most out of our instructional movies, we need to assist students in doing the processing and self-evaluation that will result in the learning we desire. The aims of the course and the rules of your field should guide you in your approach.