Lecture Recording Literature Review


To understand the effects of lecture recordings added to in-person lectures, which is different from providing content videos as in a “flipped” class, we did a quick review of the recent (pre-pandemic) literature. Our preliminary review resulted in mixed findings:

  • An overwhelming majority of students prefer to have both recordings and lectures and believe that having recordings helps their learning.
  • Students with disabilities benefit from recordings - this is a consistent finding.
  • Some studies report that recordings can benefit the students who are struggling the most in the course (e.g., they can re-watch difficult topics repeatedly).
  • Some studies report large drops in attendance when recordings are available (anecdotally, this has occurred in some cases at UBC as well). A study by Edwards and Clinton in 2019 compared matched cohorts before and after the introduction of lecture capture. The study found that attendance dropped when recordings were made available, that achievement in the course was positively associated with attendance, and that viewing the recordings did not compensate for low attendance in terms of achievement.
  • Recording availability does not seem to have a pronounced effect on the number of students who skip class completely (i.e., don't attend or watch recordings). Skipping does not result in more students being fully disengaged in the course.
  • Attendance and performance vary by course, cohort, and/or institution; what is happening in the classroom in terms of active learning versus lecture matters.
    • Williams et. al. (2016) at UC Irvine found that in "a large active-learning undergraduate introductory biology class", recordings did not cause their high attendance (about 90%) to drop and that use of the recordings was not substantially related to course performance.
    • In Nordmann et. al.’s study (2019) had a setting where attendance didn't necessarily drop, however they reported that while “high achieving students successfully use lecture recordings to make up for missed lectures, low achieving students only benefit from using recordings if they use them as supplement to the lecture that they had attended".
    • Danielson et. al. (2014) looked at different teaching contexts in a veterinary medicine setting. Their findings support the conclusions above: "Students were most likely to view captured lectures in courses that moved quickly, relied heavily on lecture, were perceived as highly relevant to their future success, and contained information not available in other formats. A greater percentage of students than faculty perceived lecture capture as beneficial to learning. Higher views of captured lectures were associated with higher test scores in disciplines that relied most heavily on a straight-lecture teaching approach...The number of lecture-capture views was not significantly related to test scores in disciplines that relied less heavily on straight lecture for instruction...".

According to our preliminary research, there seem to be contexts where lecture recordings are harmful in the sense that too many students stop attending and the recordings don't make up for it. There also seem to be contexts where the recordings don't really affect most of the class but can be beneficial to struggling students as a supplement to their attendance. What does matter is what is being done in class time: if a student is watching a presentation in class, a video is probably a similar educational experience, but if students are missing active learning in the class, then a recording won't be a substitute.



Edwards, M. R., & Clinton, M. E. (2019). A study exploring the impact of lecture capture availability and lecture capture usage on student attendance and attainment. Higher Education, 77(3), 403–421. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-018-0275-9

Williams, A. E., Aguilar-Roca, N. M., & O’Dowd, D. K. (2016). Lecture capture podcasts: Differential student use and performance in a large introductory course. Educational Technology Research and Development, 64(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-015-9406-5

Nordmann, E., Calder, C., Bishop, P., Irwin, A., & Comber, D. (2019). Turn up, tune in, don’t drop out: The relationship between lecture attendance, use of lecture recordings, and achievement at different levels of study. Higher Education, 77(6), 1065–1084. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-018-0320-8

Danielson, J., Preast, V., Bender, H., & Hassall, L. (2014). Is the effectiveness of lecture capture related to teaching approach or content type? Computers & Education, 72, 121–131. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2013.10.016


Last updated on: August 23, 2021

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