Study finds that watching lectures twice as fast is a good thing

Photo of the article titled The Good News: Watching lectures at double speed might not be so bad after all

Photo: Ethan Miller (Getty Images)

The sudden shift to distance learning and pre-registration was one of the (many) important social shifts imposed on humanity during the pandemic. Lectures. While recorded lectures and online education as a whole have been around for years, the early months of the pandemic forced Millions to accept it as a new rule.

Now, as many universities are testing how best to navigate in-person classes, many are adhesion With practice as a way to reduce the time students spend in person and to allow more flexibility in terms of when and where students can learn. The students learned new coping tricks along the way, the most popular of which is video playback acceleration.

In theory, video is accelerated, especially for long periods Lectures, can save students huge chunks of time. (It also lets them pass easily when the professor breaks the slideshow or inadvertently backs off after forgetting to make their mouse viewable in presentation mode.) But does this convenience and speed come at the expense of performance? It turns out, maybe not.

This is according to the results in a new file paper Posted in Applied Cognitive Psychology, which found no significant difference in performance between students who watched a lecture at normal speed versus those who watched a lecture at 1.5X or 2X speed. Under some specific circumstances, students can actually improve test performance after watching a lecture at double speed.

The researchers had 231 UCLA students watching YouTube videos about real estate appraisals and the Roman Empire and gave them an understanding test afterwards. The students did this on two separate occasions, regardless of the speed of the video. The researchers found that students who watched the videos at 1.5X and 2X speeds showed no reduction in comprehension compared to those who watched the videos at the normal pace. So, at least within the confines of this particular study, the data suggests that students can really spend half the time watching a video and get the same out of it. There is a limit though. Participants who watched videos at 2.5X or faster experienced a significant decrease in performance.

It also didn’t matter what order the students watched in the regular or quick videos when they mixed the two. Although 76% of study participants thought that watching a video first at normal speeds and then speeding up would lead to better results, the study did not prove this and did not find a significant difference in the order in which students watch the fast video. . These results actually contradict the students’ expectations. While 85% said they regularly speed up their lecture videos, 91% thought a normal speed or 1.5X speed would produce better results than 2X or 2.5X speeds.

The study’s most exciting results occurred when the students watched the same lecture twice at twice the speed. When students watched the quick videos twice, with one viewing occurring immediately before the test, the students’ scores were higher than those who watched a video only once.

Really, these results shouldn’t come as too surprising to anyone who walked into a classroom lecture hall in the frantic, sweat-soaked moments before an exam. Students regularly fill in as much material as possible right before the exam. In a less worrisome way, these results seem to reflect this effect in some way.

The researchers were also quick to note the limitations of their study. Although these results worked for students watching videos about estates and Romans, it is unclear whether the same results would be repeated for students trying to learn chemistry, art history, or another discipline. Students were also not allowed to pause or take notes while watching the videos, both of which are regular practice for students in the real world.

The results are still a promising sign for students looking to carve out some time for themselves.

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