How Can You Keep Students Engaged in Science Courses?

Amrinder Kaur
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The need for instructors to find effective ways to support students and to keep them engaged is now more important than ever. The use of traditional print-based methods of teaching might not be enough to keep the current tech-savvy generation interested. Interactive classroom activities using digital resources can provide a solution for keeping students more engaged and motivated.

There are several ways JoVE educational videos can help boost students’ engagement with science topics and meet challenges faced by STEM educators —

“It [JoVE] shows students there is scholarly, trustworthy information in video form. It gets them to think outside the box in terms of research, to realize that there are other materials out there that are credible that aren’t the traditional journal article. I think having a fun video to actually explain concepts is a lot more appealing than listening to a lecture. It really breaks things up. It gets the students re-engaged with the session.”  says Hillary Fox, science reference librarian at the University of West Florida.

JoVE videos are great for students who require flexible course schedules — educational video content that is accessible both on and off-campus can be used to design engaging online courses for students that may seek flexibility due to tight schedules. Students can easily access videos at their leisure to learn key concepts and instructors can use the in-class time for discussion, queries, or problem-solving.

JoVE videos also fit students’ technology-first lifestyles and make it more exciting for them to learn at their leisure. Technology is shaping a significantly different kind of learning experience for many students. Devices like smartphones are not only used to communicate and access resources but are also allowing students to edit and submit their assignments on the go. With high-impact animations and real experiments performed by scientists, JoVE videos engage and excite students by bringing science to life, and fit a mobile-first lifestyle better than the traditional textbook.

The use of instructional videos has become increasingly common in science courses worldwide. This has also raised the question: How effective is the use of video in Science Education? To answer this question, this short report – JoVE Advantage: Video Effectiveness in Education – talks about the effectiveness and the impact of JoVE science videos on concept comprehension, engagement, test scores, student confidence in the laboratory, and other metrics. 

Here are a few highlights from the report: 

  • In a peer-reviewed study conducted in a biology course at DeSales University and Clemson University, students who watched a JoVE video relevant to their biology lab performed up to 100% better on pre-lab and post-lab assessments compared to students who only read the lab handouts.
  • In a survey conducted in a biology course at St. John’s University in New York, 84.9% of students surveyed found JoVE Core videos to be a useful supplement to their course material.

“JoVE videos stand out for their brevity,” says Dr. Lara Goudsouzian, Associate Professor of Biology at DeSales University. “The students’ attention is short, and lab time is precious … the JoVE videos covered the most important parts and left out the needless detail. It kept the students’ attention, and it shows in their results.” 

Access to engaging, comprehensive video resources helps students to stay motivated and offers them an alternative to traditional ways of learning. It also allows them the opportunity to stay ahead of the game and learn upper-level skills or content relevant to advanced courses. By showing scientists performing research and explaining key concepts, JoVE science videos provide students with exposure to real-world science in a fun, accessible way.

If you would like to use JoVE science videos in your courses and your institution does not have a subscription, we would be happy to offer you a trial of JoVE videos. Request a trial.