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Watching lecture videos is now a major part of many students’ uni experience. Some say they prefer them to live lectures, as they can choose when to study. Many students also take advantage of the fact that video playback can be sped up, so cutting the amount of time they spend on lectures.
But what impact does sped-up viewing have on learning? The answer, according to Applied Cognitive Psychology, is, within some limits, none.
In fact, if used strategically, it can actually improve learning. However, what students think is going to be the best strategy isn’t actually what’s most beneficial.
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So, a student could just watch videos at 2x speed and halve their time spent on lectures….Or, according to the results of other studies reported in the paper, they could watch a video at 2x normal speed twice, and do better on a test than if they’d watched it once at normal speed.
The team also explored whether watching the videos at different speeds on separate occasions — initially at normal speed but then at double time, or vice versa — might make a difference to test performance immediately afterwards or a week later.
The researchers do also add a few caveats. While 2x viewing was fine for learning about the material in their studies — real estate appraisals and the Roman Empire — perhaps it might not work for more complex subject matter;only more research will tell.
First, 231 student participants were assigned to watch two YouTube videos at normal speed, 1.5x speed, 2x speed or 2.5x speed. They were told to watch the videos in full screen and not to pause them or take any notes.
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