4 Surprising Ways Video Is Changing Education

In today’s world, the influence of video is unparalleled. People around the world spend billions every year on the movie industry. YouTube alone streams over 6 billion hours of video every month.

But there’s a place where video is making an even bigger impact than the entertainment industry. That place is the classroom.

Research shows that using video for educational purposes offers many benefits. Some of the most common findings are heightened problem solving, mastery of new skills, increased student engagement, an inspirational classroom environment, and greater learning opportunities, especially for modern, tech-savvy students.

Perhaps the most popular application of video in the past 10 years is the flipped classroom model. Students watch lecture videos at home then complete their coursework at school where teachers are available to answer their questions. Aside from saving students time and frustration, this model also standardizes the type of work they accomplish at home. This in turn allows students with limited resources a better chance at success.

But there are even more surprising applications for video in education. Perhaps the fastest growing application is in communication courses. Classes that have a presentation or performance component require students to learn how to present well and express ideas confidently in front of an audience. Turns out that video is one of the most reliable tools for helping communication students improve.

But don’t take my word for it. Take it from the experts. Here are four different studies that take a closer look at video and communication. Here’s what they discovered:

1. Video allows students to set realistic goals and achieve them

Researcher Luke LeFebvre is considered one the ultimate authorities on educational video. In his 2010 dissertation undertaken at Wayne State University, LeFebvre discovered several fascinating insights on how video in public speaking classes affects students.

LeFebvre observed 140 different students across ten course sections of introductory communication. All of them used video of themselves to improve their speaking skills. His findings: simply recording footage of the students speaking and allowing them to review it afterwards significantly improved their ability to evaluate their performance, set goals for improvement, and execute that improvement strategy. The main thing they needed was structured direction from their professors. As LeFebvre describes it:

Video has the potential to be a powerful instructional technological tool for students’ speechmaking skill development in the introductory course when used with anticipatory goal setting and self-assessment strategies . . . Instructors of the introductory course should ensure their students view video feedback purposefully by providing methods of instruction that assist students to identify their goals prior to receiving video feedback and assess their performance to meet those goals . . . Selection of the methods that accompany video technology is critical for maximizing student learning when incorporating video feedback into the introductory course.

2. The more classes that use video, the better

In May 2016, a study appeared in Educational Technology Research and Development to investigate how students engage with video annotation software in a blended learning setting.

This study analyzed student learning in four different undergraduate classes with different instruction styles. According to its findings, video helps students incorporate reflective learning and become aware of their skills as presenters. This is a key factor of improving performance over time. As stated in the study:

Higher education institutions are increasingly adopting blended or digital learning strategies to better meet the demands and expectations of prospective students . . . Although there are a number of learning tools available for facilitating blended learning (e.g., blogs, wikis, and discussion forums), one particular technology that has gained momentum in blended learning settings is the use of video-based learning techniques.

Basically, this study found that the best results of video tools happened when a student was given graded assignments that used video in more classes than just one. When this occurred, students had the greatest appreciation for the tool and a heightened sense of self-awareness through video-enhanced self-reflection. (Read more about video: Online Video Feedback for Teaching Skills Crazy Fast.)


3. Communication courses aren’t utilizing video nearly as much as they should

Another 2016 study published in Basic Communication Course Annual presents the findings of Luke LeFebvre, Leah E. LeFebvre, and Mike Allen. These experts conducted two different studies involving over 700 students in public speaking courses.

Their primary finding? Video has proven effective again and again at helping students gain an accurate view of their public speaking abilities and improve quickly. The main issue is that most classes out there just aren’t using video consistently. And they should be!

Although video technology originated in the 1950s, its use in the basic communication course is still not consistently utilized for aiding enrolled students. Advances in information and communication technology have made the use of video technology relatively low cost, accessible, and easily portable to augment and improve feedback. The information captured by video has the potential to influence the perceptions (distorted or accurate) speakers have about their speech and about themselves. Video provides an accurate rendering of the speech because both visual and aural information are documented in the collation of images.

Video gives students the opportunity to watch their speeches the way their audience did. Most students have overly optimistic views of their own speaking skills, but watching themselves on video gives them a concrete view of what they look like and exactly what kinds of mistakes they’re making. It also increases their motivation to improve.

LeFebvre and his colleagues strongly recommend that video self-evaluation be part of every introductory communication course. Consistency and firm direction is key here.

4. Video self-evaluation is a best practice in communication

This last study, soon to be published in Communication Teacher, took a 1984 approach in its title: “The Eye in the Sky Doesn’t Lie: Video Replay, Self-Evaluation, and the Basic Communication Course.” What exactly did the researchers discover here?

Well for starters, they found that basic communication courses generally require students to give three to four speeches per curriculum. Approximately 76% of curriculums use video replay to evaluate student performances and allow students to self-evaluate as well. The one area where courses struggle is finding practical applications to improve the use of video in higher education.

In short, video concurrently portrays the nuances and complexities of the speaker as well as the speech from the point of view of the audience; video captures the authentic experience that would be otherwise impossible to provide to speakers in any other manner. Evaluating speeches by way of video affords students the potential to minimize and/or eliminate discrepancies between self-perceived and audience perceptions.

This heightened self-awareness is precisely why video recordings are the key to student improvement. Without doubt, using some kind of video in communication courses is widely considered best practice. To help teachers guide their students’ observations, this study also developed a practical list of questions instructors can ask their students to encourage optimal self-evaluation practices. (Related article: Online Video Feedback for Teaching Skills Crazy Fast)

The Big Takeaway: Video Is a Must-Have

With so many researchers all coming to the same conclusion, it’s shocking that every communication instructor isn’t searching for the perfect video tool.

Here at GoReact, we’re trying our very hardest to reach every communication class out there and make that hunt as easy as possible. Video really is the secret to self-aware presenters. But the real magic happens when video replay and time-coded feedback combine. So if you’re a comm teacher who’s ready to use video at its full potential, now is the perfect time to find out why GoReact software is making video simpler and more effective than ever.

For a killer article and more information on technology in the classroom, check out 3 Types of Technology in the Classroom that Actually Help. You can also subscribe to our education newsletter, The Yardstick & Apple.


Mirriahi, Negin, et al. “Uncovering student learning profiles with a video annotation tool: reflective learning with and without instructional norms.” Educational Technology Research and Development 64.6 (2016): 1083–1106.

LeFebvre, Luke, Leah E. LeFebvre, and Mike Allen. “The Unaware, Accurate, and Overly Critical: Video Technology Use of Improving Public Speaking Competency.” Basic Communication Course Annual 28.1 (2016): 13.

LeFebvre, Luke. Effect of goal-setting and self-generated feedback on student speechmaking. Diss. Wayne State University, 2010.



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