UCLA study shows that use of educational videos can boost STEM test scores

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Dr Roshini Ramachandran led the team whose study shows that using educational videos to supplement face-to-face lectures significantly boosts student learning.

The team’s study titled “Investigating the Effectiveness of Using Application-Based Science Education Videos in a General Chemistry Lecture Course” was published in the February 22, 2019 issue of Journal of Chemical Education


Ramachandran joined the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry in 2017 as a Boyer Teacher-Scholar where she taught undergraduate courses and conducted research in Professor Alex Spokoyny’s group. In March 2019, she joined the UCLA Center for The Advancement of Teaching (CAT) as Academic Administrator for Curricular Review and Revision. The CAT fosters and champions effective teaching, grounded in sound pedagogy and enhanced by innovation, to promote successful learning for UCLA’s diverse student population, 

In her new position, Ramachandran is involved in the assessment and curricular revision of the GE Foundations of Scientific Inquiry (FSI) courses and also conducts Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education research to enhance teaching and student learning at UCLA.

“I enjoy creating innovative active-learning strategies and implementing teaching-as-research projects across the curriculum to improve student learning experiences in STEM. I am excited about my new role and being able to contribute to shaping curricula across disciplines,” she said. “I am grateful to the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry for providing me with many opportunities to grow, and I am truly fortunate to have an incredible and supportive mentor in Alex Spokoyny through the last two years!”

Ramachandran’s co-authors on the paper were CAT members Dr. Erin M. Sparck and Dr. Marc Levis-Fitzgerald. For their study, the researchers analyzed 501 UCLA undergraduate life science/non-chemistry majors predominantly studying under the same teacher in a general chemistry course. After attending lectures and taking a quiz on each topic, students watched a corresponding educational video on the topic. The average student performed significantly better on each post-video quiz, according to the study. Scores rose whether students took the test just after watching the video, or two days later, underscoring that the videos reinforced conceptual learning, according to the study. Gains occurred in both low-scoring and high-scoring topics; for example, despite high pre-video scores for the topic of Entropy, post-video scores still showed significant improvement from 86.4% to 96.1% in a winter semester class. More interestingly, though most students stated that they found the videos useful, even students who felt neutral or negatively about the videos’ impact showed meaningful post-video test gains.

“These videos are an effective learning tool as they not only have conceptual information but also expose students to laboratory experiments, data analysis and real-life applications related to the topic,” Ramachandran said. The educational videos used in the study were provided by the Journal of Visualized Experiments Science Education Collection

About Dr. Roshini Ramachandran 

Ramachandran received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Madras University, Chennai and her master’s degree in applied chemistry from Anna University, Chennai. She received a Ph.D in inorganic chemistry under Professor Tina Salguero from The University of Georgia, Athens (UGA) with a research focus on the synthesis of inorganic nanomaterials for refractory applications. At UGA, Ramachandran implemented several teaching-as-research projects to improve classroom engagement and inquiry-based learning. She was instrumental in establishing UGA’s ‘STEM Peer Learning Assistant Program’ and developed a pedagogy of teaching course for undergraduate Peer Learning Assistants.

Penny Jennings, Communications Manager, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.