Active Learning Blog

Five Studies that Prove Lecture Capture Help Students

Jun 5, 2015 7:30:00 AM by Fred Krazeise


Almost every school looking at lecture capture grapples with questions about its efficacy and usage. It’s understandable.  Lecture capture requires significant financial and time investment on the part of universities.  From CIOs to deans and instructors, the debate is ongoing: 

  1. Does lecture capture improve learning outcomes? 
  2. Do students still come to class? 
  3. Do students like the technology? 

So let’s settle the debate, here and now. 

Lecture capture:

  • Does improve learning outcomes when integrated with a curriculum
  • Has no significant impact on classroom attendance
  • Is loved by students, regardless of topic being taught

How do we know?  Lecture capture has been around for years resulting in many studies and surveys documenting its effects.   Here’s a crash course in the top five articles that every lecture capture enthusiast should have on hand:

1. Attendance

Pursel and Fang completed the most comprehensive review of attendance and lecture capture in 2011. Their mega analysis of 47 articles found:  “….self-reported data and actual attendance counts indicated no influence or no negative influence of lecture capture technologies on attendance in a majority of studies.”  Case closed. 

2. Everything Lecture Capture:

Need a single source for all-things capture?  Looks no further than Arun Karnad’s round-up report Student Use of Recorded Lectures at The London School of Economics and Political Science.  How do students use and access recordings?  It’s in there.  How does capture impact attainment?  It’s got that too.  Among other things, the paper highlights that if given a choice, students like blended learning, or the practice of combining face-to-face lecture with recordings to help them learn.

3. Learning Outcomes 

The Flipped Classroom: A Course Redesign to Foster Learning and Engagement in a Health Professions School, published in The Journal of Academic Medicine, documents a stunning 5% point increase in final exam scores in Dr. Russell Mumper’s classroom at the UNC Chapel Hill School of Pharmacy. The backbone of the success? Offloading content delivery to shorter 35-minute lecture recordings. 90% of his students said these videos “helped them prepare for class.” 

4. Students Know Best

Iowa State University’s Dr. Jared Danielson looked at how teaching methods are impacted by lecture capture in Is the effectiveness of lecture capture related to teaching approach of content type? The Computers and Education study echoes what many instructors know instinctually: lecture capture is best used in the traditional lecture. Learning improvements were recognized when capture was used for didactic content. The more active the classroom, the less influence capture had on learning outcomes (we agree…that’s why we built the Active Learning Platform). One of the most interesting tidbits from this study?  Students were “good judges of when lecture-capture use would be beneficial”, laying to rest the fear that students will over rely on recordings in their studies.

5. Students with Disabilities

With mounting pressure to accommodate learners with disabilities or learning differences, many institutions turn to lecture capture as an accessibility tool.  Williams and Fardon studied the impact of lecture recordings on students with disabilities at the University of Western Australia.  Lecture recordings can be captioned, supporting not only deaf and hard of hearing students, but those with learning differences. Looking at 130 students with self-reported disabilities, 66% said recordings are an “essential” learning tool.  Recordings also help the 25% of students in the study with mobility impairments who could not physically attend class.