Do Students Learn Better From Video Content?

From increased retention rates to improved accessibility, there are myriad of reasons why video content should be a part of the classroom experience. However, knowing what video materials to use and how to apply them successfully takes careful consideration and a thorough understanding of how students process information and what constitutes high-quality educational material.

While video content is an essential piece of the overall educational puzzle, it’s important to note that it should never replace quality educators, well-written textbooks, and strong lesson plans. But pairing the two—a passionate, knowledgeable teacher with state-of-the-art video—can lead learners to new heights.

What Does Video Do Well?

At its core, video allows you to bring otherwise inaccessible information into the classroom. For instance, students can read about a tornado’s meteorological clues and wind shear. But, until they see what a tornado actually looks like, a written description of a tornado leaves a lot up to the imagination.

With a high-quality video, students can see how a tornado forms, moves, and rotates. The stronger visual elements of video can draw students in, help them focus their attention, and create new opportunities for participation. Educators should lead students in a thought-provoking discussion during and after a video to foster an “active learning” environment.

If you’re unfamiliar, active learning occurs when students are engaged in the learning process, whether it is inside the classroom or later at home. Active learning differs from traditional modes of instruction in which students are passive recipients of knowledge. For instance, passive learning about how magnets work would entail listening to a teacher explain that magnets are objects that produce magnetic fields and attract certain metals. Actively learning about magnets would mean children could walk around the classroom and try to attract various materials with their own magnets.

Furthermore, some students need to hear material presented more than once. When teachers give students access to video content from home or throughout flex periods in the school day, it can help reinforce the lesson and achieve understanding. It also allows parents and guardians to stay in the loop and understand how to best help their student with homework.

A John Hopkins University study found that “Teachers who frequently engaged parents … described parents as allies—interested in what is taught in school, how students are progressing, and how to increase their child’s positive attitudes and confidence about homework and schoolwork.”

Do “Visual Learners” Learn Better With Video Content?

As it turns out, “learning styles,” a concept popularized in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, is unraveling. More specifically, volumes of studies are surfacing that suggest that students aren’t really one certain kind of learner or another.

The Atlantic recently synthesized a variety of educational studies to show that while students have a variety of learning preferences, the idea of “learning styles” has been all but debunked. Rather than thinking of individuals as being visual, aural, kinesthetic, or reading/writing learners, it is actually more helpful to think of each person as possessing a toolbox with a variety of tools to process information.

Meaning, everyone has the ability to process information in a variety of ways. It’s an educator’s job to present each “tool” in the “toolbox” and explain how, when, and where a student can use it.

If teachers present every new challenge to their students through a growth mindset (“I can improve my skills through effort and perseverance, despite learning preference) rather than a fixed or deficiencies mindset (“I’m a kinesthetic learner, so no audiovisual media works”), the toolbox mentality grows dynamically. Researchers have found that children as young as preschool-age are vulnerable to either a fixed or growth mentality based on their preference for choosing a task that is challenging or not.

For this reason, find video content with guided notes/questions, clear signals, and sections where students can participate. For example, find a video series that uses a kinesthetic component in its math lessons. Perhaps it requires students to use manipulatives to add and subtract, or for them to get out of their seats and divide the class into different multiples of a number.

Viewing students’ abilities through a growth paradigm empower educators to consider how each individual lesson plan’s distinct needs lends itself to particular teaching methods.

What To Look For in Educational Video Content

Look for videos that keep the lesson short and use seasoned presenters. Attributes of well-crafted video content include:

  1. Conciseness
  2. Clear signaling
  3. Segmentation
  4. Engaging Delivery of information
  5. Simplicity
  6. Guided notes/guiding questions
  7. Accessible

Does Your Educational Institution Need Education Video Content?

If you’re interested in learning more about video content and how it can provide a strong educational experience for students, is user-friendly for educators, and can be tailored to your district or university’s goals, contact a production company that specializes in an educational video.

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