Knowledge retention, also known as knowledge management, is the transfer of knowledge from short-time to long-time memory. For young adults, especially students, it is something commonly observed.
Why is it important to boost student knowledge retention? Nowadays, due to the various technological tools we use in our personal and professional lives, it is easier than ever for our brain to get stimulated. However, these stimuli are usually short- lived and quickly forgotten. The same goes in education (especially online or hybrid learning). Did you also experience the problem of quickly forgetting the latest Math or Geography lesson shortly after the end of the class? An important task every educator bears is to not only spark interest within its students, but to do it in a way they can remember it for longer.
In this article we cross the field of psychology to understand how long-term memory is formed. We also discuss a few ideas for creating meaningful and fun e-learning with video to stimulate knowledge retention within your students.
Let’s start by diving deep into the mechanism that lies beneath transferring information or knowledge to the everlasting fields of long-term memory.
How is long-term memory formed
Alright, let’s get nerdy here. Don’t stop reading—this will be interesting even if you are not in college or university anymore. When it comes to processing persuasive information in the human brain, it all comes down to two pathways. These are not two separate pathways, but the endpoints of a continuum. The first pathway we call the central route, the second pathway the peripheral route. While the central route demands great attention and elaboration about a subject, the peripheral route does not. The peripheral route is based on mere emotion and quick attention. This is known as the ‘elaboration likelihood model’.
For example, when you buy a car—you go to great lengths examining everything you want to know about the car before you purchase it. Does it have AC? Electrical windows? Gas or hybrid? What is its residual value? You get the point. When it comes to big-decision making or an important subject, we tend to take the central route in processing all the information. The elaboration that comes with this enhances our ability to store all this information in our long-term memory.
When it comes to making small purchases or decisions - let’s say, when we are buying toothpaste - we are more drawn to things that grab our quick attention. Fancy packaging, weak claims (“whitens your teeth with 10 shades within 2 weeks!”), and perhaps some discount. This is when we take the peripheral route.
Ever wondered why some companies present more serious topics with a lot of dry facts and arguments, whereas other companies always try to play with our emotions with fancy colors, visual elements and celebrities? Well, there you have it.
Boosting knowledge retention with video
After this short but intense introduction to information processing and knowledge retention, let’s continue with the core topic of today - boosting student retention. If you read between the lines of our introduction, you might notice that it is all about elaboration - better known as engagement. The more your students will think about the topic, the greater the chances that the information you present will be stored in their long-term memory.
Great story, but how do we do this? Studies have shown that interactive, visual content, and especially interactive video, is great for engagement among students. The more senses are integrated into the process, the more impactful your message will be. Here are a few ideas to create this experience with the power of video:
1) Keep the videos short and use informal language
Research shows that student engagement increases close to 100% when students watch a video shorter than 6 minutes long. This percentage significantly drops with around 50% once the video length is between 9 - 12 minutes. So better to create shorter but more interactive videos to grab students’ interest for longer.
Another thing you can consider is the tone of speech and language you’re using in your videos. Try using a language and conversational style closer to your students’ age group. Of course, this doesn’t mean to turn your lectures into TikTok classes filled with slang, but to rather incorporate a more informal language that can resonate more easily with the students. This is known as “The Personalization Principle” - a term coined by the American psychologist Richard Mayer. According to this theory people learn best from an informal, casual voice rather than a very formal way of speech.
By combining short videos with conversational language you will not only increase student engagement but also knowledge retention.
2) Include questions at the end of the video
To improve retention for longer try tackling their short-term memory right after the class. What it means is while the material from the lecture is still fresh to include questions directly after the topic has been presented. You can do that by adding a link to a quick quiz at the end.
To be sure students find your e-learning material useful and engaging you can form the habit of frequently organizing a live Q&A session or a survey at the end of the class (for example a great tool for this is Mentimeter). When having an interactive session with your audience wherein you ask their opinion and thoughts about certain matters, you will engage their elaboration about the subject. As you may have learned by now: the more they actively think about it, the greater the chances it will be stored into their long-term memory.
3) Spark creativity with visuals
Did you know that approximately 65% of the world population consists of visual learners? 🤯This means people who need information to be presented in a visual form in order to remember it (count me in these 65% 🙋♀️).
This is not a surprising statistic when we think of how little students actually remember from simply reading a text.
In this age of technological progress videos are a great way to experiment with interactive visuals, but why not take it further? You can let your students get creative as well and see what form of learning material works best for them!
You can give them an assignment to create a diary for a certain topic, an interview or CV and cover letter - all in the form of a video to spark their creativity. Not only can they let their imagination run wild but it will be directly applicable to their life in the future, plus the visual component will help the material stay in students’ long-term memory!
4) The purple cow
Although it seems that using the peripheral route (by integrating visual and interactive elements into your video to grab your students' attention for example) might not always lead to storing information into the long-term memory, there is a reason why lots of companies still use this strategy. This is because it’s a great way to grab the attention of your students quickly; the real challenge is how to keep it.
Presenting your information in a clear and informative way is one thing, but adding in elements that will spark your student's interest is another. This is what we call ‘the purple cow’. When you are driving, and you see a lot of cows with black or brown stripes, you won’t think much about it. But imagine that among all those cows you suddenly see a purple cow (as you’ve maybe been reminded of the brand identity of Milka). That will pique your interest.
The same goes for adding visual and interactive elements into your educational video. Inserting a quick joke, an on-point reference or statistics presented as interactive diagrams will engage your students even more.
5) Research your audience engagement
Theories only get us this far. What really matters is investigating the things that make your students elaborate, engage and think about a subject. Finding out what engages your students - the how and when - will give you great handles in making sure your students will never forget this class or teaching style. By using an online software that analyzes your audience behavior, you can grasp what works for you and your audience. This can help you create meaningful, interactive e-learning. Ask for feedback from your students via a Q & A session and examine through smart tools how your content is received.
Choose an all-in-one platform to upload your videos
The basic needs for a good video include a functional microphone and a camera. Educational videos don’t need to be an exorbitant production, what matters is the concept, execution, and analysis afterwards.
For example, Kinescope has developed an Analytics feature available to all videos to give you a maximum insight into your audience's engagement. You can see your audience’s engagement per second and analyze what makes your student pause, scroll back or ask questions in an interactive session. By learning per cue what really causes viewers to engage and think, you will increase your chances of making an impact that survives the short-term memory.
Another important aspect of creating videos is how you portray them. Choose a customizable and easy to work player. Kinescope player gives the possibility to add chapters, subtitles, playlists, and even attachments directly into the player to improve the learning experience, make it smooth and engaging.
A common problem that many creators of educational online content face is the unauthorized distribution of their content. To prevent that look for an all-in-one software that provides DRM (digital rights management) protection. Here at Kinescope we use Apple FairPlay to ensure a bullet-proof protection for your videos. You can also choose to add additional restrictions, such as password protection and unique link sharing to guarantee your learning material reaches only the desired audience.
To wrap up
As we can see there are various ways to implement videos in e-learning content that will not only engage your students at the moment but also will stimulate the information to be stored for longer. Something doesn’t show the results you were expecting? Don’t be afraid to ask for your students’ opinion, think of a way to present material together, encourage them to provide feedback and be creative. After all, the chances are most of your students are visual learners and will learn best from plenty of interactive and stimulating educational videos.
When it comes to the video distribution, take a moment and do a research on the platform you’re using. Does it work the way you want? If you’re looking for a reliable solution for storing, uploading, streaming and securely sharing content with a private infrastructure and DRM encryption, choose an all-in-one video platform like Kinescope. Start today and try all of our features for free.
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