The Influence of Video Format on Engagement and Performance in Online Learning

Brain Sci. 2021 Jan 20;11(2):128. doi: 10.3390/brainsci11020128.


Millions of students follow online classes which are delivered in video format. Several studies examine the impact of these video formats on engagement and learning using explicit measures and outline the need to also investigate the implicit cognitive and emotional states of online learners. Our study compared two video formats in terms of engagement (over time) and learning in a between-subject experiment. Engagement was operationalized using explicit and implicit neurophysiological measures. Twenty-six (26) subjects participated in the study and were randomly assigned to one of two conditions based on the video shown: infographic video or lecture capture. The infographic video showed animated graphics, images, and text. The lecture capture showed a professor, providing a lecture, filmed in a classroom setting. Results suggest that lecture capture triggers greater emotional engagement over a shorter period, whereas the infographic video maintains higher emotional and cognitive engagement over longer periods of time. Regarding student learning, the infographic video contributes to significantly improved performance in matters of difficult questions. Additionally, our results suggest a significant relationship between engagement and student performance. In general, the higher the engagement, the better the student performance, although, in the case of cognitive engagement, the link is quadratic (inverted U shaped).

Keywords: engagement; learning; neuroscience; online learning; video format.