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Video Pedagogy: How Schools Boost Engagement, Deep Learning, and Retention

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WATCH: How Virginia Beach Publics Schools uses video to create dynamic learning experiences. 

As teachers and school districts navigate dynamic shifts in modern education, one thing remains constant: When a student is engaged, they have a better chance of learning and retaining knowledge. For this reason, engagement, deep learning, and retention are three of the biggest building blocks of both academic and long-term success.

When learners genuinely connect with the material, they’re more likely to explore topics in greater depth, problem-solve with an analytical or creative mindset, and most importantly, keep information etched into their brains, long after the bell rings.

According to an Oxford College study, using video within the curriculum has seen a global surge over the past two decades. In fact, the data revealed that the online learning sector saw a whopping 900% increase since being introduced in the year 2000, making it the fastest-growing category in the education industry. Research also showed that e-learning—including video, text, audio, and interactive content—increases information retention rates by up to 60%, compared to a mere 8 to 10% through traditional methods.

Need more convincing? Then keep reading, because today we’re digging deep into the undeniable impact video has on boosting engagement, deep learning, and retention. There will also be plenty of tangible examples of how schools are leveraging this learning medium to reach new academic heights.

Now, let’s get into it.

Bolstering student engagement through video

Before getting too deep into the ins and outs of video assignments, it's important to first look at the role that student engagement plays in learning success. Engagement refers to how involved, enthusiastic, and committed a learner is. Research consistently shows that engaged students are more likely to perform well in their studies. Gallup reports that engaged students are 2.5 times more likely to say they get excellent grades and do well in school and 4.5 times more likely to be hopeful about their future than their disengaged peers. When students are actively involved, they form a sense of ownership over their education, which leads to improved outcomes.

So how can teachers rev up students' engagement throttle? Easy: Assign the class a video project. Tasking learners to complete an immersive, hands-on multimedia assignment that requires a combination of visuals, audio, and interactivity makes the learning process exciting and allows instructors to capture (and keep!) even the most fleeting of attention spans.

WATCH: Project-based learning for the win with WeVideo.

As a learning concept that recognizes the power of blending different sensory channels by seamlessly incorporating visual and auditory elements, video projects leave students with a more dynamic and personalized academic experience. Some learners thrive when they can read and analyze text-based information; other students excel when they can see and hear what is being taught.

Certain individuals tend to progress by being exposed to a mix of the two. Therefore, video inherently bridges this gap with content that appeals to both sides of the classroom spectrum, keeping every learner interested and ensuring none are left behind. The results are in: Video projects offer a win-win solution for everyone.

Now, a question: If you ask for a raise of hands to see who preferred to spend the period reading from their science textbook vs. those interested in watching a Bill Nye video, what would the general student response be? Obviously, there would be overwhelming support in favor of Bill Nye the Science Guy… shortly followed by the inevitable “BILL” classroom chant once the episode begins. Enter the term "edutainment," which encapsulates the idea that learning can be both educational and entertaining—and a sure-fire way to hit that pinnacle goal of engagement. When each member of the class is having a good time while they’re gaining knowledge, they are more likely to stay locked in and invest more effort into their educational process.

How schools are using video for student engagement

Check out the following examples of video playing a pivotal role in supporting stronger learner engagement in the classroom:

1. Flipped classrooms

This learning model that’s gained popularity in recent years requires students to watch video lectures at home and use classroom time for interactive discussions and activities. The flipped classrooms approach increases engagement while also allowing for more in-depth exploration of topics during in-person class sessions.

2. Interactive video assessments


WATCH: Interactive video? See how it works!

Many schools have embraced interactive video assessments as a way to gamify learning. These tests present challenges within the video content, requiring students to actively remain tuned into the material. By turning the learning process into a competition of sorts, students become more skin in the game because it’s fun.

3. Student-created videos

Empowering students with video assignments inspires creativity and encourages critical thinking. This hands-on approach not only boosts engagement but also deepens their understanding of the subject matter.

Fostering deep learning through video

Often, “memorization” and “knowledge” are used interchangeably in school – but they are certainly not synonymous. This is where the recent educational shift from rote memorization to fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills stems from. Deep learning embodies this transformation as a process that encourages students to move beyond memorization and toward attaining true knowledge by understanding concepts at a more profound level. This change is fundamental as it equips students with core abilities that are invaluable throughout their academic journey and maybe even more so when they reach the workforce.

  WATCH: WeVideo makes multimedia learning easy, especially with our Assignment Ideas Library!

Deep learning offers massive gains for students, including improved retention of information. In fact, on average, studies show that students at schools focused on deep learning have better test results and people skills. When learners truly understand an idea, rather than simply memorizing it, they are far more likely to retain the subject matter and bank it for the long haul.

How schools are using video for deep learning

Here are some noteworthy examples that underscore how video supports deeper learning:

1. Unlocking complex concepts through video

Learning concepts are often intricate and challenging to grasp through traditional education methods alone. Video brings complex topics to life with illustrative examples, animations, and demonstrations.

2. Catering to visual learners and digital natives

Research has consistently shown that video is a preferred learning method for certain groups, particularly visual learners and digital natives who have grown up in a multimedia-rich environment. Video assignments provide an intuitive and engaging medium for acquiring knowledge for these individuals.

3. Enhancing learning with supplementary video resources

In the age of self-directed learning, supplementary video resources are invaluable. Students can access teacher-created or -curated videos at their own pace, allowing them to review and reinforce their understanding of the material.

4. Interactive features for active engagement

Interactivity capabilities, like the plethora found in WeVideo’s platform, further foster deep learning and engagement. With features such as assessments, annotations, and collaborative editing, students are more tuned into the learning process. Interactivity ignites critical thinking and encourages students to explore concepts from different angles- to broaden their learning horizons.

5. Project-based learning (PBL)

Many districts have embraced project-based learning, where students tackle real-world problems and create video presentations to showcase their solutions. A PBL approach not only deepens students’ understanding of subject matter but also hones their presentation and communication skills – some pretty crucial skill sets to have.

6. Virtual labs

In science and math courses, virtual labs through video simulations have become indispensable. Students can conduct experiments in a risk-free environment, which gives them the freedom to make mistakes… and then learn from them.

7. Language acquisition

Video is an exceptional tool for learning a new language. Schools have integrated video lessons featuring native speakers and cultural contexts to help students not only understand the language but also its cultural nuances.

Increase retention through multimedia learning

Educational retention is the ability to remember and recall information over an extended period. It is a necessary component of learning because, without retention, the insights gained in the classroom can swiftly fly in one ear and right on out the other. Students must keep those key learning moments embedded in their noggins in order to build upon them and reach important educational milestones effectively, which is why retention lays the groundwork for future learning.

As students grasp core information, they can connect the dots to new concepts because they actually absorb them. Learners' ability to establish a solid knowledge base is imperative for them to keep building upon, and the key to lasting academic success. Retention gives students the superpower to tackle more complex subjects with confidence and get those amazing little “aha” moments when they realize the bigger picture by piecing it all together.

Multimedia learning—you guessed it—is a potent tool for supporting knowledge retention. It engages multiple senses, combining visuals, audio, and interactivity to create a richer learning experience. This multisensory approach leads to a deeper encoding of key information in students' memory. Why do we love video? Because it keeps those three magic ingredients of engagement, deep learning, and retention in every recipe. Video = a tried-and-true crowd-pleaser.

WATCH: Video-based learning allows students to show what they know through multimedia, like in this digital citizenship project!

Traditional text-based learning primarily engages the sense of sight. In contrast, video learning appeals to multiple senses. Visual information is reinforced by accompanying audio narration or explanations, which makes for a much more immersive and holistic learning moment.

When students engage with multimedia content, they are more likely to have the information burned into their long-term memory. This deeper encoding ensures that the knowledge is retained and can be readily accessed at the drop of a hat, whenever they need it. Whether it’s for an exam that’s 30% of their final grade, a group project, or even an important presentation that's due in their boss's inbox by 5:00 p.m., long after they've graduated.

How leading schools are improving retention with video

Schools have experienced remarkable improvements in knowledge retention by incorporating video into their teaching methods. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

1. Historical reenactments

Social studies classes have integrated video reenactments of historical events. By visually immersing students in the past, these videos create memorable experiences that enhance the retention of historical facts and context.

2. Math tutorials

Video tutorials have proven highly effective in mathematics. These videos break down complex problems or concepts into manageable, step-by-step explanations with visual aids. Students can revisit these tutorials as needed to reinforce their understanding.

3. Science demos

Science courses often employ video demonstrations to illustrate difficult experiments and concepts. By seeing these ideas in action, students not only understand them better but also remember the procedures and outcomes more effectively.

Pro tips for practical video implementation

WATCH: Did you know? WeVideo is made for educators and students to use in the classroom. Check it out!

So now that we’ve shared the evidence, it’s time to provide a few tips and tricks for taking the plunge into video-based learning. As teachers and administrators look to integrate video into lesson plans, here are a few practical steps to keep in mind that will ensure a successful and engaging learning experience:

1. Start with clear learning objectives

 Before incorporating video into lessons, teachers must define clear learning objectives. What specific outcomes do you want to achieve with video integration? Kicking this off with well-defined goals will guide the selection and creation of video content and ensure it aligns with curriculum objectives.

2. Choose the right content

Leveraging the right video content is non-negotiable. The content should not only line up with the lesson goals but still be engaging for learners. Consider a variety of content sources, from educational platforms to teacher-created videos, to find material that resonates with your students.

3. Plan for accessibility

 Ensure that video content is accessible to all students, including those with disabilities. Provide captions or transcripts, use descriptive alt text for images, and ensure compatibility with assistive technologies. Promising accessibility and inclusivity ensures that every student can benefit.

4. Create a schedule

Establish a structured and consistent schedule for video-based activities within the curriculum. And don’t forget to make sure it's well-balanced with other instructional methods to create a diversified learning experience.

5. Keep it concise

Maintain student engagement by keeping videos short, sweet, and to the point. Long, unstructured videos can quickly become monotonous, which will inevitably lead to a disengaged classroom. Aim to convey key concepts efficiently by making the most of short attention spans. Brief, focused videos are usually the way to go for better results.

6. Use visuals strategically

Visuals are powerful when it comes to enhancing understanding and retention. However, be tactful about it. Utilize diagrams, animations, and graphics to clarify complex ideas. Ensure that these imagery components support the process rather than complicate it.

7. Incorporate interactivity

Encourage the use of interactive elements within videos to keep students compelled while promoting active learning. Features like questions, polls, and discussion prompts can be integrated into videos to assess comprehension and encourage critical thinking. These interactive elements transform passive viewing into an engaging and participatory experience.

Empowering educators and students to conquer video-based learning

WATCH: WeVideo for Schools

Now that you’re up to speed about why video is such a game changer in education and how diverse this medium can be within the learning process, it’s time to give you a few pointers on how WeVideo can be the best video-creating classroom aid you’ve ever had.

Since the goal is to continuously achieve the three big building blocks of engagement, deep learning, and retention, our platform empowers educators to create dynamic and engaging video assignments by fostering interactivity, critical thinking, skills in students, and so much more.

Here are just some of the ways that WeVideo helps with video-based learning (and if you're ready for a demo, be sure to let us know!):

  • Video creation: Develop custom video lessons tailored to personalized learning needs or key curriculum—or scroll through our Assignments Idea Library to find the perfect ready-made and ISTE standards-aligned multimedia project.
  • Editing tools: Create like a pro with powerful editing tools that enable users to enhance video quality and add interactive elements.
  • Collaborative capabilities: Work collectively on video projects to strengthen important teamwork and communication skills.
  • Accessibility: Leverage accessibility features that make video inclusive for every student.
  • Cloud-based: Assign, work on, or submit video projects from virtually anywhere.
  • Interactive assessments: Encourage active learning with ease through immersive video assessments.

Just remember, whether you’re a teacher, a student, or an administrator—WeVideo is here to empower you each and every step of the way.