Comprehension does not suffer from accelerated viewing of online lectures

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(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have found that viewing educational materials at a speed increased by one and a half and two times does not impair understanding and memorization of the material.

Watching online courses and pre-recorded videos has become the norm of learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. As is often the case with pre-prepared material, students and schoolchildren try to view them at a higher speed in order to be in time in a short time. Does it hurt the learning process?

Scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles decided to test this hypothesis. The results of their research are published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.

To participate in the experiment, 231 students were invited, who were divided into four groups: in the first group, the participants were turned on the video at normal speed, in the second – with an acceleration of one and a half times, in the third – twice, in the fourth – two and a half.

Students watched two short videos of 13-15 minutes each about the Roman Empire and the real estate market without pauses and did not take notes. Immediately after that, they took tests for understanding the content of the video, 20 questions each.

It turned out that participants from groups where the speed of viewing was increased by one and a half and two times, gave approximately the same number of correct answers (about 25), while participants who watched the video at normal speed answered 26 questions correctly.

The worst result was shown by the group for which the speed was increased by two and a half times – only 22 correct answers.

A week later, the subjects re-passed tests for understanding the content of the video, but with different questions. The group that watched the video at maximum speed again showed the worst results – 20 correct answers out of 40, and participants from groups that watched the video at 1.5 and 2 times the speed scored 21 correct answers. The best result was shown by the group for which the video was not accelerated: 24 correct answers out of 40.

Scientists also tested whether the number of views at different speeds affects the degree of understanding and assimilation of information. So, one group was given the task to watch the videos twice at double speed, and the second – only once at normal speed.

It turned out that both groups showed approximately the same result, scoring 25 out of 40 correct answers in the comprehension test. However, when one group was given the opportunity to watch videos twice at twice the speed, but with a break of a week, they performed better (24 correct answers out of 40) than the group that watched the videos only once at normal speed.

The researchers noted that watching videos at up to twice the speed does not really impair comprehension and retention of the material, and this strategy can be used in studies. However, it may not be effective when working with particularly difficult materials.


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