Online Students Do Not Learn By Video Alone, Finds Study

By Paul Riismandel, Streaming Media

Streamed lectures, it turns out, are a poor replacement for classroom learning. To help students absorb what they hear, add interactive activities to the curriculum. Recently, five researchers from Carnegie Mellon University decided to test out what difference extra activities make on learning outcomes inside a massive open online course, or MOOC. The title of their study belies their conclusion: “Learning Is Not a Spectator Sport: Doing Is Better Than Watching for Learning From a MOOC.” They tested a 12-week introductory MOOC in psychology that featured 10- to 15-minute lecture videos as part of the instructional content along with weekly quizzes to measure progress. Looking just at the final, the average score of the students who used the OLI activities was nine points higher than the students who didn’t: 66 points vs. 57 points. Many more students completed the interactive course, too; 939 of the OLI students took the final exam, while only 215 of the students in the non-OLI version did.

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