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24th September 2023

  why your brain loves  
  learning with video:  
  backed by neuroscience  

In the digital age, our learning environments have expanded beyond traditional textbooks and lectures.


Video-based learning has become a formidable force for education, and it's not just a trend; it's a movement grounded in the very nature of how our brains process and retain information.


In this blog, we will explore a number of neuroscience-related benefits of using videos to learn new information. Discover the intricacies of our neural pathways and uncover the science behind why videos are revolutionising education.

01. Multisensory


Our brains are excellent at juggling multiple tasks, like processing information from various senses at once. Videos are the perfect tool for engaging multiple senses.


When we watch a video, we're not just decoding text or listening to words; we're actively using our visual and auditory systems. This combination of sensory input creates a stronger and more lasting memory of the information.


A study published in "Frontiers in Psychology" discovered that experiences involving multiple senses, such as those provided by videos, lead to improved memory recall and deeper comprehension.

02. Mirror Neurons

Mirror neurons act like social chameleons within our brains. Neuroscientist Giacomo Rizzolatti uncovered these neurons that fire both when we perform an action and when we observe someone else doing it.


This neural mirroring forms the foundation of observational learning. This is where videos step in as powerful tools.


A study published in "Neuron" showed that mirror neurons activate when we watch actions in videos, essentially creating a virtual re-enactment of the experience.


This mechanism bridges the gap between theory and practice, accelerating our learning curve by allowing us to internalise actions and behaviours simply through observation.


03. Emotional Connection


Stories hold a special place in our hearts and minds, and there's a neurological explanation for this phenomenon. Emotional engagement plays a significant role in memory formation and retention.


When we emotionally connect with the content of a video, our brain releases neurotransmitters like dopamine and oxytocin. These chemicals forge a positive link with the learning experience, making it more memorable and impactful.


Research published in "Emotion Review" supports this idea, highlighting that emotionally charged content triggers enhanced memory consolidation.


Videos, often laden with narratives and emotional elements, tap into this emotional reservoir, transforming learning into not just an intellectual pursuit, but also an emotional journey.



04. Complexity

Abstract concepts can be like elusive puzzles, testing our cognitive abilities to piece them together. Our brain's spatial cognition centres activate when processing visual-spatial information, helping us better understand intricate relationships.


Videos have the capacity to provide easily understandable visualisations of abstract theories, making them more accessible and relatable.


A study featured in the "Journal of Science Education and Technology" demonstrated how animated videos in particular significantly enhance spatial visualisation skills and conceptual understanding.



05. Cognitive Load

Cognitive load refers to the mental effort required to process information. Well-designed videos, with their carefully synchronised visuals and narration, expertly manage cognitive load.


When we watch videos, our brain is guided by the flow of the narrative, visual cues, and animations. This streamlined delivery eases the cognitive strain associated with deciphering complex text. Consequently, videos serve as valuable tools for educating individuals with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia.


The optimised consumption of information, as proposed by the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning by Richard Mayer, promotes deeper understanding and retention. This frees up our brain's resources, allowing us to focus on comprehension rather than struggling with cognitive overload.

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06. Curiosity


One of the brain's most remarkable traits is its curiosity—an innate desire to explore and discover. Videos provide an ideal platform for dynamic learning experiences that fuel curiosity.


Interactive elements, simulations, and real-world examples embedded within videos trigger active learning. This active engagement prompts the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine, creating a sense of reward that further amplifies the desire to explore.


Research published in "Educational Psychology Review" underscores how dynamic multimedia content fosters profound engagement and nurtures critical thinking. The synergy between videos' interactivity and our brain's curiosity results in a powerful learning boost.



In conclusion,

Video-based learning isn't merely an educational trend; it represents a cognitive revolution deeply rooted in the neural architecture governing our learning experiences.


Videos facilitate a stronger connection with information, translating abstract concepts into tangible visualisations, and encouraging active exploration.


In an age where knowledge is accessible at our fingertips, embracing the neuroscience-backed benefits of video learning is more than a strategy; it's a transformative approach to expanding your knowledge.


By aligning with our brain's innate inclinations, we can create and engage with content that resonates deeply, optimising the process of acquiring, retaining, and applying knowledge.

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