Engagement in and learning from video instruction: Moving on from heuristics and hype

Year: 2019

Author: Lodge, Jason, Brazil, Jonathan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Video is rapidly becoming a key medium for the delivery of instruction at all levels of education. This trend is particularly evident in the higher education context where videos have been core elements of blended and online learning and in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Despite the near ubiquity of videos in some educational environments, the evidence about the most effective design and production of video instruction remains underdeveloped. Established bodies of research and theory such as Mayer’s (e.g. 2009) Multimedia Learning Theory (MLT) provide some guidance as to the most effective approaches for delivering instruction in multiple mediums (visual and auditory). Despite the extensive research on video instruction into and based on MLT (see Fiorella & Mayer, 2018), the design and production of videos are guided predominantly by heuristics gleaned from large scale observations (e.g. Guo, Kim & Rubin, 2014) rather than through evidence from rigorous experimental studies (Lodge et al., 2017). In this presentation, we will describe a program of experimental research aimed at determining which design and production elements lead to tangible enhancements in student learning from video instruction. Over the course of a set of interlinked studies, we have tested variations in visual and auditory design, delivery timing and the use of question/answer formats. Overall, the results of these studies suggest that relatively small and simple manipulations of design and production can reap great benefits to student learning. Of practical importance, many of these manipulations do not incur high production costs and can, therefore, be easily implemented.


Fiorella, L., & Mayer, R. E. (2018). What works and doesn't work with instructional video. Computers in Human Behavior, 89 465-470. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2018.07.015

Guo, P. J., Kim, J., & Rubin, R. (2014). How video production affects student engagement (pp. 41–50). Proceedings of the first ACM conference on Learning @ Scale, New York, New York, USA: ACM Press. http://doi.org/10.1145/2556325.2566239

Lodge, J. M., Horvath, J. C., Horton, A., Venema, S., Kennedy, G. & Dawson, S. (2017). Designing videos for learning: Separating the good from the bad and the ugly. EARLI Conference, 2017, Tampere, Finland.

Mayer, R. E. (2009). Multimedia learning (2nd ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press.