California Educator

February/March 2023

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Page 42 of 59

Short videos align with known attentional limits In school, and in life, we tend to overestimate attentional limits. In fact, studies suggest that young kids' attention begins to lag after 10 minutes, and older students often struggle to remember material covered later in a lecture. Instructional videos allow you to break up a longer lesson into several smaller ones — increasing the likelihood that students will be able to sustain attention and commit what they're learning to memory. ey also provide natural breaks during study time. ere is an optimal duration for an educa- tional video, though you should think of it as general guidance. In 2014, a team of research- ers from MIT, Harvard and Berkeley analyzed millions of video sessions and concluded that "median [student] engagement time is at most 6 minutes," with video length being "by far the most significant indicator of engagement," outweighing other characteristics like instructor presence and production quality. In a related finding, when university professors simply split a 55-minute instructional video into several 8-minute ones, view- ing time increased by 25 percent, and academic performance improved, a 2022 study found. ink about where to break your lessons. "It is recommended that teachers should make the videos as short as possible, but one complete knowledge point should be contained in one video," the researchers in the 2022 study suggest. Video libraries enable self-paced learning e asynchronous, always-on nature of video libraries solves many of the sequencing issues that plague teachers: how to reincorporate students after absences, what to do with kids who need to revisit a foundational concept, or how to differentiate between students. Accessing a library at different entry points — skipping ahead or revisiting previous lessons — is a built-in advantage of video learning, and it allows students to self-pace while freeing the teacher to circulate and troubleshoot with individual students. In a 2019 study, researchers concluded that students " learn better when multimedia instructions are presented in (mean- ing ful and coherent) learner-paced segments, rather than as continuous units." at's because the ability to control the pace of videos provides more time for processing or reviewing information, allow- ing students to "adapt the presentation pace to their individual needs." Being able to control a single video's play- back in real time, meanwhile — by pausing and rewinding — allows "students to regulate their cognitive load, leading to better learning," researchers concluded in a 2021 study. "is ability to self-pace has been previously identified as a key feature contributing to the success of online learning, more generally." Videos support rich formative assessment — asynchronously and at scale Modern tools for video creation and distribution take advan- tage of built-in auditing systems that collect valuable data about what's working for your students, and what's not. Better, they can do it asynchronously, and they often provide ready-made charts and graphs that simplify formative assessment — like trying to determine a student's on-task behavior. Other tools allow you to test for specific knowledge. "Embed- ding questions in your instructional video using programs like Edpuzzle can improve student interaction and provide you with invaluable formative assessment data," explain Farah and edu- cational technology expert Robert Barnett. College students who watched videos with embedded pop-up questions earned "significantly higher test results compared to the group without pop-up questions," boosting their test performance by almost half a letter grade, according to "Video learning allows students to self-pace while freeing the teacher to circulate and troubleshoot with individual students." 41 F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 2 3

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