Research? Science? or something more wooly?

Posted on Feb 19, 2014

Although I’ve been publishing video for some time now, both for myself personally and for Orgs I’ve been working in, it’s always been somewhat ‘quick and dirty’ using phones, flip cams, webcams etc.

My current employer however, is looking into the possibility of purchasing some higher end equipment, so I’ve been doing my research not only into the equipment itself but also the underpinning knowledge and skillset required.

That’s why I was quite excited to see this tweet appear in my timeline.

The link took me through to this blog post on the Video Arts site, with the title

The science behind the effectiveness of video in learning

I attempted to leave a comment against the post but kept getting an error message whenever I submitted it. Not one to be put off I called Video Arts to let them know their site was playing up (‘cos that’s the kinda guy I am) and was told that they would fix it.

Imagine my surprise to find that ‘fixing it’ appears to mean ‘removing the comments functionality against all posts’!

I don’t normally ‘scrape’ content from web pages, but here’s the article in full (don’t forget you can access the original here) with my original comment below.

It often feels like a no-brainer that video is a more effective way to share learning; everyone loves watching telly right? The billions of daily hits on YouTube certainly suggest that people enjoy watching videos, but there’s also plenty of science behind our assertion that video creates longer lasting learning.

So for all our clients who ask us “what’s the research that says video is the most effective tool for learning”, here’s a list of useful references….(be warned; our list gets more sciencey towards the end)

  1.  50% of Smartphone users watch video on their mobile device – the Educational Marketing Group
  2.  59% of senior executives said they prefer watching video to reading text – Forbes
  3. You are four times more likely to look at video on a website than text and images – Cisco
  4. 90% of learning comes from informal training activities like apps, social networks and video – Nick van Dam, Chief L&D officer, Deloitte
  5. Learners remember 10% of what they read (text), 20% of what they hear (lectures), 30% of what they see (images), 50% of what they see and hear (demonstrations, video), 70% of what they say themselves (speaking, giving lectures) and 90% of what they do (practice) – Edgar Dale’s Cone of Learning
  6. 85% of L&D professionals use video for learning – Video Arts client survey
  7. Video improves attention, motivation and the overall learning experience – Herefordshire and Worcestershire Lifelong Learning Network
  8. A comScore press release states that when professionally-produced video and user-generated video were used in conjunction for a comScore study, lift in share of choice was 35.3% for the featured product and 28% for the brand’s total line. Alone, professionally-produced video resulted in 24.7% and 16% respectively, and user-generated video returned 18.7% and 10% – comScore
  9. Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research says a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words – invodo
  10. Video appears in 70% of the top 100 search listings – KISSmetrics
  11. Videos are 53 times more likely than text pages to show up on the first page of search results – GIGAmon
  12. Econsultancy estimates videos in universal search results have a 41% higher click-through rate than plain-text results – Econsultancy
  13. In a Forbes study, it was found that three-quarters (75%) of executives surveyed said they watch work-related videos on business-related websites at least weekly; more than half (52%) watch work-related videos on YouTube at least weekly – Forbes
  14. More than half of senior executives share videos with colleagues at least weekly, and receive work-related videos as often – Forbes.
  15. Regularly posting videos helped the company’s website receive 200% to 300% more monthly unique visitors and a 100% longer average time-on-site spent per visitor. The average time spent on pages with videos was 3 minutes compared to 1 minute and 30 seconds averaged on pages without video – marketing sherpa
  16. 29.9% of people say they would watch more online video content if the quality of content were higher and 26.4% would watch more if their access were more flexible (i.e., the ability to watch anywhere, anytime, from any device) – eConsultancy
  17. Students asked about video-instruction universally express that video reinforces their learning, makes them feel visually stimulated, and holds their attention better than text – Cofield, J. L. (2002) An Assessment of Streaming Video in Web-based Instruction
  18. The use of video has been deemed more effective for student retention than the use of text in problem-based instruction – Choi and Johnson
  19. The multiple symbol system of video enhances understanding of complex concepts and supports the acquisition of new concepts among learners with limited prior knowledge – Salomon, G. (1994). Interaction of media, cognition, and learning. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  20. Information obtained visually is more memorable, and the simultaneous processing of both auditory and visual information increases learner comprehension and retention – Baggett, P. (1984). Role of temporal overlap of visual and auditory material in forming dual media associations. Journal of Educational Psychology
  21. Instructors observe that students ask questions that are more specific and engaged in classroom discussion – Franciszkowicz, M. (2008). Video-Based Additional Instruction. Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology

My response(which I’m still very happy to post against the original site, just as soon as Video Arts enable comments)


The *initially* impressive list of 21 items seems to largely fall down once you start to read it!

Very, very few of the 21 bullet points actually provide any evidence that video is the most ‘effective’ tool for learning.

Admittedly, there are some references to what appears to be research towards the end of the list, but the author hasn’t actually bothered to extrapolate the actual evidence from the data.

Let me clear here. I am not at all ‘anti video’, but when a blog posts tells me it’s going to provide me with some ‘research’, I expect it to do that – not just cite a long list of examples that ‘video is popular’ – so is nicotine but it doesn’t mean that it’s effective for learning!!!

Image source


  1. Interestingly/ironically there is science/research behind nicotine and things like memory (spatial retention, fear memory etc…

  2. CraigTaylor74 good to see you back Craig.

  3. Yes, a lot of those just seem to suggest in the headlines that people like video, not that it’s any more effective. It’s interesting that the one they choose to pull out and make an image of on their site’s the Cone Of Experience (from 1946!) which has been well debunked by Will Thalheimer here:

  4. @Norman Lamont  Hi @Norman Lamontthanks for dropping by and commenting on this post. I’m a big fan of WillWorkLearn if I’m ever ‘dubious’ over a learning ‘theory’ he’s usually already blogged the research into it!!!

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