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Study tips for watching videos

Studying a video, such as recorded lectures, is more demanding than watching videos for entertainment purposes. Simply watching an educational video usually does not give the desired result; you have to study it actively. Here we have listed tips on how to effectively study videos.

A person with headphones on, looking at a laptop while looking focused

Get an overview of the course

Begin your studies by reading the course syllabus and course memo. Has your teacher published an introductory video that gives you an overview of the content? Watch that first.

Get in the habit of always reading the syllabus. You will understand the purpose of a video easier if you get an early overview of the course and its goals, what is expected of you, and how the material is intended to be used.

Once you've got a grip on your syllabus and set some milestones for yourself, the content of the course's videos becomes more accessible.

Sift through all the surrounding material before you start studying the video. Think through what you did last time in the course and how it is connected to the syllabus. You don't have to have all the answers – the most important thing is that you have given it some thought.

Pause and break down the content of the video

A video gives you the advantage of processing the content in peace and quiet and then bringing your questions to your teacher. Pause, stop, and reflect on the content. It is good to note keywords and later repeat what you noted of the content, preferably out loud to yourself.

An example is if the video uses a mathematical equation followed by calculation examples. Pause after the video explains the equation and write down what all the parts represent and if there is something unclear. Continue watching the video and pause again after the calculation example is introduced. Now try solving the calculation yourself before looking at the video's solution. Compare your solution with the one in the video whether or not you managed to solve the example. Remember to write down questions along the way.

Interact with the material and get involved

Once your teacher has posted a video, it can be easy to get caught up in the idea that "the material is there, so I don't have to watch it now". When studying a video, it is a common trap that video is seen as a "free result", unlike course literature, which is rarely taken for granted. It is more common to familiarize yourself with the book first, read the table of contents and the back cover, and then take on what you consider to be essential parts.

Therefore, view the video as a course book. Familiarize yourself with it in advance. Look at the video description and any summaries or concepts that may or may not occur. Set clear goals about when to study the video and how it might help you. And most importantly: Be active. The more active you are both before watching and in the meantime, the better learning conditions you will have.

Videos on study techniques

Björn Liljeqvist teaches study technology and has recorded a series of videos on study techniques with different themes. For example, you can learn how to read course literature, how to build good study habits and different memory techniques.

Watch videos about study techniques

Repeat and exercise what you've seen and heard in the video

It is not enough to watch a video to learn the content in the same way that it is not enough to see someone else play a song flawlessly to be able to do it yourself. No matter how well you know the theory, you still have to practice on your own to learn properly.

A good method is to take notes while watching the video and then try to explain the content to another person. Feel free to do this in a different environment than where you watched the video, like the next time you meet your fellow students at a lecture. Work in pairs and repeatedly process the content orally for each other.

You don't just study to understand the theory of something. You study to be able to exercise and utilize your knowledge.

Pay attention to surrounding materials, chapters, and time markers

For example, your teacher may have made support questions for you to increase engagement, evaluate your knowledge, and improve your learning. Do not skip these, but try to see the video with the surrounding material as a whole.

Also, connect the video to the material you read before or to nearby lectures. How do they relate to each other? What does your teacher want you to get from the course or module?

Care for your work environment

When entering a lecture hall or classroom, it is usually obvious what norms and rules apply for everyone to be able to concentrate. When studying at home, you need to take responsibility for your workplace. Here are some things to consider, which are perhaps extra useful for online live lectures: 

  • Prepare yourself so that you have the opportunity to participate actively in teaching.
  • Sit or stand comfortably at a table and make sure you have the opportunity to take notes. If you are going to take notes digitally, use two screens if you have the opportunity for it and keep your notes on the other screen.
  • Test your connection well in advance.
  • Make sure it's quiet around you.
  • Feel free to study with a classmate, but ensure an organized discussion about the material. If you are watching a video, pause it together and repeat it to each other.
  • Is there something you didn't understand? Formulate questions to bring to your teacher. They are there for you.

Do you have any questions about study technique?

You can contact your program study counselor if you want help developing your study technique.

Study and career counselling