Students asked about video-instruction universally express that video reinforces their learning, makes them feel visually-stimulated, and holds their attention better than text. They find classes more enjoyable and better appreciate the usefulness of what the learned from the instruction. In fact, student attitudes trend more positively toward subject matter using video, and instructors observe that students ask questions that are more specific and engaged in classroom discussion. Male students especially report feeling motivated by video-based instruction.
Video is a rich source of both visual and auditory data. Those multiple content delivery modes act as reinforcements to one another if the student needs it. Additionally, while learners can construct a mental representation of the meaning of a story from either audio or visual information alone, when presented together, each source provides additional and complementary information that fosters better learning.
Research has shown that video-based instruction is successful in enhancing students’ problem-solving skills because it exposes students to real world situations and actively engages learners in reasoning, thinking, and solving problems. Students understand what they learned at a more profound level as a result of the active problem-solving.
The visual cues in visual media are crucial to demonstrating multi-layered, complex concepts, problems, and procedures. The multi-symbol systems of video instruction exposes learners to equipment, events, and relationships that cannot be easily demonstrated and understood verbally.
Video technology is particularly useful for problem-based learning because it can convey setting, characters and action in a more interesting way and can portray more complex and interconnected problems. Visual media have already revolutionized such PBL-intensive curricula as medicine, natural and applied sciences. Now, video is poised to have a similar impact on case-based curricula such as business, law, and the vocations. And students perceive that video is much more effective than text at presenting real-life situations.
The use of video has been deemed more effective for student retention than the use of text in problem-based instruction. Information obtained visually is more memorable, and the simultaneous processing of both auditory and visual information increases learner comprehension and retention. The captivating nature of video stories helps learners remember content in comparison with expository materials.
Cognitive load is the amount of work imposed on working memory during the learning process. In layman’s terms, it is the experience of feeling overwhelmed during a lesson. The two most significant predictors of cognitive load are prior content knowledge and content complexity. That is, if a learner has little prior understanding of material, or the material is highly complex, the greater the likelihood the learner will “max out” on her working memory, depressing learning. The multiple symbol system of video enhances understanding of complex concepts and supports the acquisition of new concepts among learners with limited prior knowledge.
By offering students supplemental support, video can potentially reduce demand on the instructor’s time outside of the classroom. Video can also reduce course preparation time when used as a supplemental tool to update or add present-day relevance to older, familiar cases, thereby eliminating the pressure to prepare all new cases each term.