How video production affects student engagement
AUTHOR ABSTRACT: Videos are a widely-used kind of resource for online learning. This paper presents an empirical study of how video
production decisions affect student engagement in online educational videos. To our knowledge, ours is the largest-scale study of video engagement to date, using data from 6.9 million video-watching sessions across four courses on the edX MOOC platform. We measure engagement by how long students are watching each video, and whether they attempt to answer post-video assessment problems.
Our main findings are that shorter videos are much more engaging, that informal talking-head videos are more engaging, that Khan-style tablet drawings are more engaging, that even high-quality pre-recorded classroom lectures might not make for engaging online videos, and that students engage differently with lecture and tutorial videos. Based on these quantitative findings and qualitative insights from interviews with edX staff, we developed a set of recommendations to help instructors and video producers take better advantage of the online video format. Finally, to enable researchers to reproduce and build upon our findings, we have made our anonymized video-watching data set and analysis scripts public. To our knowledge, ours is one of the first public data sets on MOOC resource usage.
|Shorter videos are much more engaging.||Invest heavily in pre-production lesson planning to segment videos into chunks shorter than 6 minutes.|
|Videos that intersperse an instructor’s talking head with slides are more engaging than slides alone.||Invest in post-production editing to display the instructor’s head at opportune times in the video.|
|Videos produced with a more personal feel could be more engaging than high-fidelity studio recordings.||Try filming in an informal setting; it might not be necessary to invest in big-budget studio productions.|
|Khan-style tablet drawing tutorials are more engaging than PowerPoint slides or code screencasts.||Introduce motion and continuous visual flow into tutorials, along with extemporaneous speaking.|
|Even high-quality pre-recorded classroom lectures are not as engaging when chopped up for a MOOC.||If instructors insist on recording classroom lectures, they should still plan with the MOOC format in mind|
|Videos, where instructors speak fairly fast and with high enthusiasm, are more engaging.||Coach instructors to bring out their enthusiasm and reassure them that they do not need to purposely slow down.|
|Students engage differently with lecture and tutorial videos.||For lectures, focus more on the first-watch experience; for tutorials, add support for rewatching and skimming.|
CITATION: Guo, Philip, Juho Kim, and Rob Rubin. “How Video Production Affects Student Engagement: An Empirical Study of MOOC Videos.” In Proceedings of the First ACM Conference on Learning@Scale Conference. (2014). pp. 41-50.