Insights from literature on lecture capture

downloadPeter McKenna from the faculty of Science and Engineering at Manchester takes a look at the literature…

While students feel that recordings enhance their learning and don’t impact on their attendance, most studies report that there is no significant impact on grades (Kushnir et al. 2011; Leadbeater et al. 2013) and that attendance drops (Traphagen et al, 2009; Marchand et al, 2014; Bos et al, 2015).  The affective value is very strong (in all studies students overwhelmingly value lecture recordings), and this is crucial to relevant KPIs.

However, the flip-side of increased satisfaction is likely to be that students question the point of attending lectures (a perception that already surfaces in survey comments re lecture slide availability). We therefore need to consider how we communicate tensions about non-attendance being a positive part of the flexibility offered by lecture capture (e.g. dispense with the traditional obligation to attend), potential of allowing virtual attendance at live streamed lectures to be factored into attendance data, and any changes (if any) in expectations surrounding physical attendance requirements.

There are conflicting findings on whether lecture recordings could be ‘equivalent’ substitutes for lectures (Traphagan et al. 2010) or not (Williams et al, 2012). However, robustness of experimental design and isolation of other variables are problematic here. Most studies assume a priori the intrinsic importance of using recordings to supplement, rather than replace, live attendance (e.g. Leadbetter et al, 2013; Elliott & Neal, 2016); however, McCredden and Baldock (2009) while acknowledging a significant reduction in attendance, question assumptions around lecture attendance and advocate a ‘more than one pathway’ approach. It seems probable that scaling back attendance rigour is one of the reasons that lecture capture increases student satisfaction, and the importance of physical attendance – as opposed to, say, verified use of recordings – should be examined rather than assumed.

If we continue to require attendance, however, we need to be clear that attending lectures offers significant value over and above watching them. This could mean integrating added-value features into live lectures such as student-student and staff-student interactions. In any case, it will be necessary to clarify how teachers use the facility and how students use recordings; to apply pedagogy rather than merely present passively as a service.


There is a danger that lecture capture could simply reify traditional didactic presentation of information and increase the focus on such formats at the expense of other learning experiences. Leadbeater et al (2013) found evidence that lecture capture might encourage a surface learning attitude.

We need to consider the use of recordings in more communicative and active learning environments. Recorded segments could be actively reused in subsequent contact sessions, to facilitate consolidation and transfer (perhaps a more responsive and dynamic take on the flipped classroom). This could be a particularly valuable activity in response to sections of recorded lectures flagged by students (via Echo360) as hard to understand.

Lecturers can also create short supplementary recorded material for points that were not well understood or that are particularly important. Capture systems such as Echo360 and Panopto can also be used for prepared recordings.

We need more than ever to apply evidence-based principles of multimedia learning theory and research to lectures, and use lecture capture as a positive opportunity to enhance the presentational aspects of the University lecture. For example:

  • Modality: the fact that all verbal information from a lecture will be primarily available in auditory format, should mean that we are freer to move away from text-based screens in our lectures and towards visual presentations and demonstrations. There is robust evidence for the modality principle (Moreno & Mayer, 1999).
  • Segmentation: Lecturers should familiarise themselves with the pause button, and take control of recordings by planning to segment their lectures into small, self-contained and clearly-signalled themes (e.g. producing four 10 minute recordings interspersed with short activities rather than one 50 minute). Recordings per se enable students to fit content better to their attention and concentration spans, but structure and scaffolding add value. There is robust evidence for the segmentation principle (Mayer, 2005).


It is likely that students will expect clear support from teaching staff on the use of lecture recordings. Mather et al (2015) report that 72% of one student cohort felt that a lack of such support had a negative effect on their learning. Students will need to be advised and supported in how they can actively use lecture recordings to support their studies.

Owston et al (2011) found that lower-achieving students use recordings more, later, and more indiscriminately. It has been suggested that they therefore benefit more; but this appears to be speculation rather than a logical conclusion. It is also problematic that a simplistic post-hoc view might suggest a negative correlation between use of recordings and performance. These authors also found that students who view less frequently, achieve significantly higher grades than those who viewed them more frequently. Higher-achieving students used recordings selectively while lower-achieving students repeatedly viewed the whole recording.  Cause and effect should again be questioned with such evidence. The selective use of recordings – including scrub, search and speed variation – would seem to be a sensible strategy as long as there has been a first sitting of the full lecture. Otherwise it would be yet another shortcutting technique.

Recordings are viewed more when assessment points are imminent. We could recommend review within a short time of the actual lecture for consolidation and short-term revision; discriminate use of search; and use of varied playback rates.  Some recommendations will be technology-dependent. When the equipment becomes available in CELT, Stephen Powell will invite the group to explore the specific facilities.


Bos, N., Groeneveld, C., van Bruggen, J., & Brand-Gruwel, S. (2015). The use of recorded lectures in education and the impact on lecture attendance and exam performance. British Journal of Educational Technology.

Elliott, Caroline and Neal, David (2016) Evaluating the use of lecture capture using a revealed  preference approach. Active Learning in Higher Education, 17 (2). pp. 153­167. ISSN 1469­7874

Paulo Kushnir, L., Berry, K., Wyman, J., Salajan, F. (2011). Lecture capture: Good student learning or good bedtime story? An interdisciplinary assessment of the use of podcasts in higher education. In T. Bastiaens & M. Ebner (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2011 (pp. 3168–3178).

Leadbeater, W., Shutterworth,T., Couperthwaite , J., & Nightingale, K. (2013). Evaluating the use and impact of lecture recording in undergraduates: Evidence for distinct approaches by different groups of students. Computers & Education, 61, 185–192.

Mather, C., Caesar, L., Chin, C., & Fei, J. (2015). Class attendance and use of Echo360 in Australia: A comparison between undergraduate nursing and maritime disciplines. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 174, 2839–2845.

Mayer, R. E. (2005). The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (1999). Cognitive principles of multimedia learning: The role of modality and contiguity. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91(2), 358-368.

McCredden, JE and Baldock, T. More than one pathway to success: Lecture attendance, Lectopia viewing and exam performance in large Engineering classes [online]. In: 20th Annual Conference for the Australasian Association for Engineering Education, 6-9 December 2009: Engineering the Curriculum. Barton, A.C.T.: Engineers Australia, 2009: 986-991. ISBN: 1876346590.

Owston, R., Lupshenyuk, D., & Wideman, H. (2011). Lecture capture in large undergraduate classes: Student perceptions and academic performance. Internet and Higher Education, 14, 262–268.

Traphagan, T., Kusera, J. V., & Kishi, K. (2010). Impact of class lecture webcasting on attendance and learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 58, 19–37.

Williams, A., Birch, E., & Hancock, P. (2012). The impact of online lecture recordings on student performance. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 28, 199–213.

reblogged: next #LTHEchat > lecture capture and in-class engagement >>> 22 Nov > Join us at 8pm UK time!

The next LTHEChat Wednesday 22nd November 8-9PM (GMT) will be based on questions from John Couperthwaite and Stephen Powell on lecture capture and in-class engagement. Bio John is an experienced educational professional who has worked within the higher education sector for over 20 years. His activities in technology enhanced learning have embraced leadership of large infrastructure […]

via LTHEchat #97 “I can spend more time paying attention: lecture capture and in-class engagement” with John Couperthwaite @johncoup and Stephen Powell @stephenp. — #LTHEchat