Studying can feel lonely; hours and hours locked up in one’s room preparing for stressful exams.

Some teenagers are coping by creating “cram videos,” short clips where they trade study techniques and forge friendships.

A few like 18-year-old Jade Bowler, who goes by the name UnJaded Jade online, have gathered a following of millions over YouTube.

“I think study, revision and productivity videos have taken off in popularity mainly because we all go through these things as teenagers,” Jade was quoted as saying by the BBC.  “We’re all in school, and it’s quite nice to have people to relate to.”

The British teenager’s most popular clip shows her routine that starts at 5:00 AM and includes mediation.

The trend sometimes called “study tubing” has spread across the Atlantic. Vloggers like Adanna the PA have also garnered tens of thousands of views.

Why Study with Video at All?

So are these students just looking for attention? Hardly.

Creating study videos offers a number of benefits to the students:

  • It gives them a sense of community that helps keep them motivated.
  • Adding verbal descriptions and demonstrations to their note taking involves more parts of the brain, increasing the likelihood information will stick.
  • Building an audience also builds accountability—their desire not to “let people down” helps them stay focused.
  • Creating videos itself broadens and deepens their communications skills in general.

Sometimes the push for students to create online video content has come from universities themselves:  Princeton,  for instance, shared videos made by STEM students to help motivate remote learners.

Universities have found that making videos available can help their own students study more effectively as well.

  • Students can speed up videos to process information more quickly.
  • They can also slow them down to process more thoroughly.
  • The ability to stop lectures and re-watch sections as many times as necessary helps overall comprehension.

How Can Schools Empower Students to Use Video for More Effective Studying?

What should schools be doing to help?

Giving students the tools and encouragement to review and create videos can help more learners take advantage of these techniques.

  • Lecture capture allows students to use university materials for review. Many schools are finding that lecture recording viewing rates spike before exams, often with critical bits played over and over by the same students.
  • Students need tools to create their own study videos, including a secure place to post and share. 
  • Adding captions not only makes videos more accessible, it helps cater to different learning styles, so visual and auditory learners can each benefit.
  • Encouraging students to form groups to share study videos, so they hold each other accountable, can even recreate YouTubers’ experience in a more private setting.

The digital era has indelibly changed how we communicate. Teenagers learn to shoot, edit and publish video stories with greater ease and at a younger age than ever before. Giving them the tools and support to learn in their own way helps increase the odds of success—not just for the video-makers, but for their audiences as well.

How are schools putting creation tools in students’ hands? Check out the Northern Essex Community College case study.