We’re not camera shy – we just think videos aren’t always the best learning tools….

For Students, for parents

If you’ve been using Get My Grades you may have noticed that compared to other online learning sites, we don’t have so many videos. This is deliberate.

There are some advantages of videos. Videos have both audio and visual stimulation – this is part of why they grab your attention more than a page of text.  The Dual-Coding theory suggests that this should lead to a better memory of information (Clark & Pavio, 1991). Dual-Coding theory states simply that combining verbal and non-verbal information makes it easier to understand.  And this is the case. But videos are not the only way to do this. Get My Grades taps into this by providing lots of well-placed images which reinforce the information given in the text.

Videos though have some downsides. Poorly made videos may overload working memory (Baddeley, 2003). Working memory is the part of your memory which is involved in conscious thought and working things out – it is the part of your memory which is busy reading thinking about this articles.  Working memory has quite a limited capacity. And videos that are not well done so that the information being spoken matches that of the images may overload working memory leading to less being remembered as not all of it can be processed.

Videos are also not the most helpful for looking something up. Imagine the situation you’ve watched a video on scurvy and now you’re doing some questions. Unfortunately, you get a question wrong – ‘which vitamin is scurvy a deficiency of?’. Our helpful feedback, helps you to understand why you were wrong but you (rightly) want to look back at the video as now you want to make sure you’ve remembered the symptoms of scurvy. Now where in the video was the bit about the symptoms? At the beginning? Near 4mins? You don’t want to sit through the whole video again – so you leave it.

Researchers have found that when comparing text and videos – those with text are far more likely to go back and check a fact (Zhang, Zhou, Briggs, & Nunamaker Jr, 2006). Going back to check a fact consolidates learning so you are more likely to remember all about scurvy when it comes up in your exam.

Your final exam will also be written. Matching the way in which the material is encoded to the way in which it will be retrieved should help you to remember it. A classic experiment (Godden & Baddeley, 1975) in psychology made participants learn a list of words underwater (in diving suits). They were then tested either on the land or in the water. Participants were much better at remembering the list if they were also underwater for the test. This effect has also been found with imagined locations as well (Bramao, Karlsson & Johansson, 2017). Reading text, rather than watching videos, allows more of the conditions of an exam hall to be replicated e.g. the silence. This may lead to better recall in the exam.

There is also evidence that the use of videos is most effective when you are trying to learn to do something visual. For example, learning to tie nautical knots (Schwan, & Riempp, 2004) is better taught with the use of interactive videos.  This is why Get My Grades will have videos of critical experiments in the sciences and uses videos where students need to learn or understand something visual that changes over time.

So to summarise, you will find video’s in the Get My Grades content, but only where they will be of use to help you learn!

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