Evaluating retrieval practice in a MOOC how writing and reading summaries of videos affects student learning
Videos are often the core content in open online education, such as in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Students spend most of their time in a MOOC on watching educational videos. However, merely watching a video i s a relatively passive learning activity. To increase the educational benefits of online videos, students could benefit from more actively interacting with the to-be-learned material. In this paper two studies (n = 13k) are presented which examined the educational benefits of two more active learning strategies: 1) Retrieval Practice tasks which asked students to shortly summarize the content of videos, and 2) Given Summary tasks in which the students were asked to read pre-written summaries of videos. Writing, as well as reading summaries of videos were positively related to quiz grades. Both interventions seemed to help students to perform better, but there was no apparent difference between the efficacy of these interventions. These studies show how the quality of online education can be improved by adapting course design to established approaches from the learning sciences.