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Review of Revision Practices and the Value of Video Lessons April 2012

1    O2  Learn  –  Revision  Research  findings    

O2 Learn: Revision practices and the value of video lessons In March 2012, O2 Learn and EdComs carried out a survey of 1,000 14-16year-olds and 1,000 parents of young 1 people this age to understand more about their revision practices. A similar survey of around 400 teachers 2 signed up to O2 Learn was also carried out. Alongside this, desk   research was conducted to investigate what is already known about best revision practice, memory and learning styles in relation to video and technology usage specifically. This short document provides an overview of what was discovered.

Current revision practice Interestingly, there was incredibly little existing research into best revision practice. Research on memory suggests that spacing out smaller chunks of learning over time, and ‘interweaving’ different topics with each other, can be more effective than ‘massing’ learning together in one large 3 amount, or trying to learn by ‘cramming’. It is suggested that although spacing out chunks of learning might cause students to feel that they are forgetting the information in the short term, it is the effort that must be made to recall the 4 information that facilitates true learning. Studies have found that students’ preferred revision strategy is often merely to re-read their notes or textbooks (a finding 5 substantiated in the survey ), whereas undertaking different activities such as active re-call of various topics would be 6 likely to be of greater benefit to them. Indeed, practice papers are used as a tool 7 for revision by 77% of young people , and

96% of teachers surveyed also claimed to 8 use these. However, the teacher survey found that teachers who responded had received little formal guidance in relation to how best to support their students with revision (54% said they had never received any training around revision). However, they did give advice to their students on when to revise 80% recommended students begin their revision a month or more before their exams, aware that ‘cramming’ is not an efficient or effective route to learning. We found that, in reality, only 44% of young people have actually started their revision by a month before their exams, and 20% of young people wait until 7 days or less 9 before exams to start. Our survey also found that, in addition to the trusted, traditional methods mentioned above, technology is a key part of young people’s revision practices: 97% were found 10 to use the internet for revision. Specifically, video clips are considered a useful tool by 66% of young people and 11 parents, and 84% of surveyed teachers 12 advocated these in the same way. This is clearly something that supports O2 Learn’s offer, but why are videos so useful, and how can they actually contribute to effective revision practice?

What are the advantages of using online video for learning? There is evidence to suggest that young people growing up today are developing different learning styles from previous generations, due to their greater use of technology. Technology designed for learning, such as video, can capitalise on this not only because many young people simply prefer technological to traditional media, but because they may actually have a heightened ability to process information that is presented in different forms (such as graphics, sound and text) in a parallel rather 13 than a linear fashion. The use of familiar technology for learning can also provide a

2    O2  Learn  –  Revision  Research  findings     helpful link – particularly, perhaps, for young people who are less interested in traditional, academic learning – between 14 their home and school cultures. Specifically, video can be used to model content or skills: visualising or illustrating abstract concepts, working through scientific investigations or sounding out 15 words in a foreign language. Online video is easily accessed, unthreatening, suited to use alone or in a group, and can be repeated as many times as is desired. It also brings particular advantages for memory, in that it offers the opportunity to make use of text, visual images and audio simultaneously. It therefore clearly has characteristics that are unique among revision tools, including practice papers, textbooks and class notes. But why is this? Evidence from neuroscience indicates that adding pictures to text can 16 enhance memory for the text (that is, information held in both the verbal and the visual memory is learned initially and retained better than that held in only one 17 memory system. ) When someone receives information in the form of both text and images, more areas of the brain are activated, over and above the activity 18 produced by text or images separately. There is some evidence that this ‘multimodal’ form of learning can enhance working memory, or the amount of information that can be ‘held’ in the mind 19 at one time. Even when the working memory is loaded to full capacity in, say, the verbal channel, the visual channel can still be capable of learning – ‘using up’ one aspect of memory does not mean using up 20 all of it. On a related note, some students will naturally have a greater ability to process and ‘hold onto’ information they receive verbally, while others will process visual information more easily, and so presenting information through both channels at the same time increases the chances of the 21 information being retained. One study

experimented with an educational video, and found that when students were played both the audio and the visual channels they learned more than when they experienced 22 only one of these components. Furthermore, there is evidence that watching another human performing an action produces similar brain activity to performing the action oneself, which might also have implications for learning and 23 memory. Indeed, young people seem to recognise this audiovisual benefit of videos for revision with 59% of those who think videos are useful citing being able to see things being explained as a key reason for this, and 56% citing being able to hear 24 explanations. The ‘bite-sized’ nature of online learning videos is also a feature that is supported by evidence on the brain’s ability to learn. There is good evidence that working memory can be trained to enhance its 25 capacity, that repetition can facilitate the transfer of learning into long-term memory (so freeing up working memory) and that such repeated practice can be even more effective in terms of achievement than 26 natural talent alone. However, when both the verbal and the visual working memory are in danger of overload – as might happen when students are undertaking a lot of revision – the evidence suggests that content should be organised into bite-sized segments, with opportunities to integrate and organise new information within and 27 between the segments. This, again, supports the use of short video clips as a potentially effective revision tool, and young people recognise the benefit in being able to pause, fast-forward and rewind video (61%) (thus segmenting the information into manageable chunks themselves) and in being able to repeat viewing (56%) when using video as a revision tool.

3    O2  Learn  –  Revision  Research  findings    

Learning and revision as a socially interactive experience But is there more to good revision practice than just the tools you use? It has long been recognised that parents can have a significant positive effect on their children’s achievement at school even after other major factors shaping attainment have been 28 taken account of. Recent academic research has shown that children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds yet do well at school have parents who value learning, have high aspirations for their children, hold high standards of behaviour, and offer emotional support to their 29 children. Interestingly, survey results indicate that parents play a much greater role in their children’s revision today than in previous generations, with 86% of parents today claiming to be actively involved in their child’s revision versus 39% of their 30 own parents. It may be that friends can also play an important role. The children in the academic research mentioned also had friends who were able to offer emotional or practical support with learning, and indeed, there is evidence that working collaboratively can improve young people’s study behaviour and can even have some impact on memory. It is suggested that this is because studying together gives young people the opportunity to share their knowledge and study techniques, and to 31 monitor their own learning. When comparing current revision practices with those of the previous generation, our survey noted that young people today were more likely than parents to revise with other people, including study groups (17% for students vs 5% for parents), friends (33% vs 32 12%) and teachers (43% vs 13%). Overall, girls were found to be more social revisors than boys with 38% revising with friends compared to 28% of boys. However, boys were more likely than girls to consider the ability to share videos as a reason for their usefulness as a revision tool (9% versus 4%).

In conclusion It is clear that the way young people revise has changed dramatically over the past generation. Not altogether surprising, perhaps, given the changes to the education system in that time. However, the evidence suggests that the breadth of tools now available to young people, such as online video, could not only be ideally suited to young people’s preferred learning styles, but could actually be a means of effectively enhancing their studies in preparation for their exams. This is especially likely to be the case when young people have the support of friends and family for their revision and, the research showed that many parents are keener to get involved than a generation ago. In light of this evidence, the potential is there to raise awareness of the range of effective tools and practices that could actually make revision a more enjoyable and efficient task for young people today.

4    O2  Learn  –  Revision  Research  findings                                                                                                                            


Surveys were nationally representative by age, gender and region; s = student survey, p = parents survey 2 Survey invites were sent out to all O2 Learn teachers and additional teacher contacts held by EdComs. This survey was not representative of the teaching population; t = teacher survey 3 Kornell 2009; Cepeda et al. 2006, Dempster 1996 , Kornell and Bjork 2008, Shea and Morgan 1978, and Simon and Bjork 2001, all in Bjork 2011. 4 Bjork 2011. 5 83% of young people use their notes from class and 70% use textbooks to help with their revision 6 Karpicke et al. 2009. 7 Q10(s): What do you use to help you revise? Resposes chosen from a precoded list, n=1000 8 Which revision tools do you use in your lessons, or recommend to your students to use in their revision? Chosen from a precoded list, n=384 9 Q5a(s): When do you normally start revising for your exams? Responses chosen from a precoded list, n=1000 10 Q11(s): how often do you go online to help with your revision? Responses chosen from a precoded list (every time – never) n=1000 11 Q14(s): How useful are videos or video clips in helping with revision?/ Q16(p): How useful do you think videos or video clips are in helping with revision? Scaled response options, n=1000/ 1004 12 Q6(t): In your opinion, how useful are online videos or video clips in helping students with revision? Scaled response options, n=381 13 Prensky 2001 in Mitchell and Savill-Smith 2004. 14 Furlong et al. 2001. 15 Chambers et al. 2006; Howard-Jones et al. 2010. 16 Paivio and Csapo 1973 in Howard-Jones 2011. 17 Clark and Paivio 1991; Mayer 2001; Mayer and Moreno 2003, all in Chambers et al. 2006. 18 Beauchamp et al. 2004 in Howard-Jones 2011. 19 Howard-Jones 2009. 20 Mayer and Moreno 2003 in Chambers et al. 2006. 21 Michel 2010. 22 Kozma 1991 in Chambers et al. 2006. 23 Howard-Jones 2009. 24 Q15(s): Why are video clips useful in helping with revision? Responses selected from precoded list, n=656 (those who find videos useful) 25 E.g. Howard-Jones 2011. 26 Howard-Jones 2009. 27 Mayer and Chandler 2001 in Chambers et al. 2006. 28 Desforges and Abouchaar (2003). 29 Sylva et al. 2012. 30 Q10(p): In what ways, if at all, do you help your child with their revision?/ Q11(p): Thinking about when you took exams at school, in what ways, if at all, did your parents help you with your revision? Responses selected from the same precoded list for each question, n=1004/ 952.

“Active involvement” considered as ‘helping to explain things’; ‘testing them’; ‘giving them advice on revising’; ‘reading their notes’; ‘playing revision games with them’;’ other’ 31 Wood et al. 1999. 32 Q9(s): How do you normally revise for your exams?/ Q9(p): Please tell us how you used to revise for exams, resposes selected from same precoded list for each question, n=1000/1004


Bibliography Bjork, R. (2011). On the symbiosis of remembering, forgetting, and learning. In Successful remembering and successful forgetting: a Festschrift in honor of Robert A. Bjork. London: Psychology Press. Chambers, B., Cheung, A., Madden, N., Slavin, R. and Gifford, R. (2006). Achievement effects of embedded multimedia in a success for all reading program. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 232-237. Desforges, C. and Abouchaar, A. (2003). The Impact of Parental Involvement, Parental Support and Family Education on Pupil Achievements and Adjustment: A Literature Review. London: Department for Education and Skills. Furlong, J., Sutherland, R. and Furlong, R. (2001). Screen-play: an exploratory study of children in "techno-popular" culture. Swindon: Economic and Social Research Council, 2001. Howard-Jones, P. (2011). The impact of digital technologies on human well-being. Nominet Trust. Available (Accessed 10.04.2012).

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Howard-Jones, P. Ott, M., van Leeuwen, T. and De Smedt, B. (2010). Neuroscience and technology enhanced learning. Futurelab. Available at: ce-and-technology-enhanced-learning (Accessed 10.04.2012).

Young, M., Slota, S., Cutter, A., Jalette, G., Mullin, G., Lai, B., Simeoni, Z., Tran, M. and Yukhymenko, M. Our Princess Is in Another Castle: A Review of Trends in Serious Gaming for Education. Review of Educational Research, 82:61.

Howard-Jones, P. (2009). Neuroscience, learning and technology (14-19). Becta/Bristol University. Available micStaff/edpahj/publications/becta.pdf (Accessed 10.04.2012). Jones, R. (2011). Sport and re/creation: what skateboarders can teach us about learning. Sport, Education and Society, 16(5), 593-611. Karpicke, J., Butler, A. and Roediger III, H. (2009). Metacognitive strategies in student learning: Do students practise retrieval when they study on their own? Memory, 17(4), 471-479. Michel, E (2010). The role of individual differences in cognitive skills in children’s learning through film. Journal of Media Psychology: Theories, Methods, and Applications, 22(3), 105-113. Mitchell, A. and Savill-Smith, C. (2004). The use of computer and video games for learning: a review of the literature. London: Learning and Skills Development Agency. Sylva, K., Melhuish, E., Sammons, P., SirajBlatchford, I. and Taggart, B. (2012). Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education Project (EPPSE 3–14). Final Report on the Key Stage 3 Phase: Influences on Students’ Development from age 11–14. London: Department for Education. Wood, E., Willoughby, T., McDermott, C., Motz, M., Kaspar, V. and Ducharme, M.J. (1999). Developmental differences in study behavior. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91(3), 527-536.

About O2 Learn: We're building a video library of great revision lessons from teachers across the country, to help connect people to great teaching. O2 Learn aims to give every 13-18 year old in the UK access to a huge choice of curriculum focused mini-lessons which can help them with revision or to catch up on some subjects that they can't remember or might have missed. We also think parents could benefit too. We don't claim to be teaching experts. But we do know lots about the internet and helping people connect to the people and things that matter to them. So we're using what we know best to do something important: celebrate the best teachers, and connect them to thousands of potential students. And we're letting the students rate the lessons. Awarding the best lessons, as chosen by the student rating and an expert judging panel, prizes for their efforts. To date, O2 Learn has awarded over £300,000 directly to teachers and schools in the UK. We want the site to be both safe and accurate. So, we moderate our videos for appropriateness and accuracy through a network of 'learning champions', qualified and awarded teachers, recruited through The Schools Network. To date, O2 Learn has over 1,100 lessons available for free and has delivered over 25,000 hours of teaching.

6    O2  Learn  –  Revision  Research  findings                                                                                                                                                                               O2 Learn is a Think Big initiative. Think Big is O2's program to inspire and celebrate young people and the people who help young people. Find out more at  


creating Britain’s biggest classroom.

Published in April 2012. All information is correct at time of going to print.Telefónica UK Limited Registered in England no. 1743099 Registered Office 260 Bath Road Slough SL1 4DX

O2 Learn Revision Report: Review of Revision Practicesand the Value of Video Lessons  

In March 2012, O2 Learn and EdComs carried out a survey of 1,000 14-16 year-olds and 1,000 parents of young people this age to understand mo...

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