Embedded questions is the feature most studied than any other in the research around educational interactive video. And that’s because questions carry the “testing effect” that deepens learning.
Research has proven the cognitive benefits adjunct questions bring with them. García-Rodicio (2014) for example, found in their study that interactive video environments that include questions enabled participants to outperform those who had semi-interactive and non-interactive video conditions.
It is a fact that students prefer watching videos that include questions instead of linear videos.
Why is that?
1Questions In Videos Are Authentic
Questions come within the context of the presentation. They are directly associated with the content you are teaching at the moment it is being presented.
The user knows that the answers will be revealed in a convincing way within the sequence of the video. That is to say, that the video embedded questions are always content related and interwoven with the plot of the video.
Also, questions engage users because they are now able to interact with the video’s content itself. For example, viewers can answer by clicking the corresponding area on the video’s interface:
2Questions Activate Users’ Mental Selections
Questions at specific points in your video expect users to predict something that is going to happen or explain something they have seen. This activates viewers’ mental elaborations. What are mental elaborations?
Challenging learners to make predictions at specific points in the video requires them to use their pre-existing knowledge. This activates immediately the information processing in their brains, especially if there are strong contradictions. Predictions also keep learners stimulated and focused. Predictions are great in experiments where learners have to predict the result, eg. “Which is going to melt first?”
Likewise, questions at the beginning of the video stimulate the learner’s attention and motivate their focus to look forward at specific details in the video. Rhetoric questions for example, are great for this purpose.
On the other hand, inductive questions, are used for practicing previous knowledge and helping students to interpret a hypothesis presented. These questions motivate students to take notes and watch carefully the whole video to be able to answer the corresponding questions.
3Videos Adapt To User Choices
Questions allow participants to actively shape the video experience. The viewer can decide on how the video will continue and also the video gets adapted to each of their responses. As a result, learners feel greater ownership of the video and more confident. For example, through a rhetoric question the viewer can choose what portion of the video they would like to watch.
Another way viewers are shaping the video experience is when we give feedback to their answers.
Feedback, adapts to each viewer’s answer and encourages dialogue around learning. Immediate feedback gradually closes the gaps between the current and the desired performance.
And with our new interactive video player you can now provide three types of feedback:
Wachtler et al., (2016) investigated the optimum rate of interactive questions, in regards to their position and tightness. They showed that too early appearing questions are prone to be answered incorrectly. Thus, it is advisable to wait patiently until the first question pops up. At around one quarter of the entire video length has proven to be an adequate time for the first question to appear.
Concerning the tightness of a question, a designer should make sure they don’t create an overload to learners. A question per minute is the suggested rate between questions.