Tell me what you want, what you really, really want
Given the current popularity of educational videos, and given the time, effort and expense academics and institutions are investing to provide educational videos to students, it was thought worthwhile to evaluate whether students at the University of Northampton (UoN) actually want and use these resources. Moreover, if it was found they do use educational videos, investigation was required to determine if they are in a format that students want. The study was carried out in two distinct stages. The first stage was a questionnaire which was followed by a focus group. It was found that students at Northampton do overwhelmingly use educational videos. Furthermore, the research found that students prefer videos to any other resource and that videos can increase motivation. Additionally, high-risk production strategies, such as seeing the presenter on screen, and the use of animation, humour and quizzes were identified, and it was found that the use of music in an educational video was considered a negative component of a video. The optimum length of the video is less clear, however, it is recommended they are kept to less than 10 minutes (although this is dependent upon the level of study of the student). The key recommendation when producing videos is to ensure they have been designed taking cognitive research into account. The key strength of a well-designed educational video, it is concluded, is to give the students something additional they cannot find in another resource, in a way which encourages effective learning.
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