Choice of device to view video lectures: an analysis of two independent cohorts of first-year university students

  • Jesca Namuddu School of Health, Sport and Bioscience, University of East London, London, United Kingdom
  • Paul N. Watts School of Health, Sport and Bioscience, University of East London, London, United Kingdom
Keywords: tablet, mobile learning, video lectures, University education, mobile technology


Video lectures and mobile learning devices have become prominent, but little is known about device choices for watching video lectures. The setting for this study, a university that provided perpetual access to personal computers and free tablet devices to all first-year students, provided a unique opportunity to study device choice in a setting where both tablets and personal computers were perpetually available. Weekly video lectures on a first-year module were made from October to April in two independent cohorts of students. YouTube analytics were used to record data on device usage for video lecture views. Tablets were initially used for almost 70% of views. However, tablet usage declined throughout the academic year, and tablets were overtaken by personal computers as the preferred device in the second half of the academic year. Findings suggest that an initial preference for using tablets to view video lectures lasts only a few months.


Download data is not yet available.


Anderson, L. (2011) ‘Podcasting, cognitive theory, and really simple syndication: what is the potential impact. When used together?’, Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 219–234.

Anshari, M., et al., (2017) ‘Smartphones usage in the classrooms: learning aid or interference?’, Education and Information Technologies, vol. 22, no. 6, pp. 3063–3079. doi: 10.1007/s10639-017-9572-7

Brecht, H. D. & Ogilby, S. M. (2008) ‘Enabling a comprehensive teaching strategy: video lectures’, Journal of Information Technology Education, vol. 7. pp. 71–86. doi: 10.28945/198

Byrne-Davis, L., et al., (2015) ‘Just-in-time research: a call to arms for research into mobile technologies in higher education’, Research in Learning Technology, vol. 23, p. 25653. doi: 10.3402/rlt.v23.25653

Coughlan, S. (2014, September 25) ‘University gives free tablet computer to new students’, [online] Available at:

Delaviz, Y. & Ramsay, S. D. (2018) ‘Student usage of short online single-topic videos in a first-year engineering chemistry class’, Proceedings of the Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA), vol. 141, pp. 1–4.

Fabian, K. & MacLean, D. (2014) ‘Keep taking the tablets? Assessing the use of tablet devices in learning and teaching activities in the further education sector’, Research in Learning Technology, vol. 22, p. 22648. doi: 10.3402/rlt.v22.22648

Gafni, R. & Filin, D. (2015) ‘Worldwide video use patterns in e-learning: exploring time, completion rate, and devices’, Online Journal of Applied Knowledge Management, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 74–92.

Gafni, R. & Geri, N. (2015) ‘Evolving consumption patterns of various information media via handheld mobile devices’, Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology, vol. 12, pp. 83–93. doi: 10.28945/2259

Giannakos, M. N. (2013) ‘Exploring the video–based learning research: a review of the literature’, British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 44, no. 6, pp. E191–E195. doi: 10.1111/bjet.12070

Giannakos, M. N., Chorianopoulos, K. & Chrisochoides, N. (2015) ‘Making sense of video analytics: lessons learned from clickstream interactions, attitudes, and learning outcome in a video-assisted course’, The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 260–283. doi: 10.19173/irrodl.v16i1.1976

Giannakos, M. N., Jaccheri, L. & Krogstie, J. (2016) ‘Exploring the relationship between video lecture usage patterns and students’ attitudes’, British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 47, no. 6, pp. 1259–1275. doi: 10.1111/bjet.12313

Google. (2014, August 20) ‘YouTube analytics and reporting APIs’, [online] Available at:

Herala, A., et al., (2017) ‘Experiences from video lectures in software engineering education’, International Journal of Modern Education and Computer Science, vol. 9, no. 5, p. 17. doi: 10.5815/ijmecs.2017.05.03

Henderson, M., Selwyn, N. & Aston, R. (2017) ‘What works and why? Student perceptions of “useful” digital technology in university teaching and learning’, Studies in Higher Education, vol. 42, no. 8, pp. 1567–1579. doi: 10.1080/03075079.2015.1007946

Kennedy, G. E., et al., (2008) ‘First year students’ experiences with technology: are they really digital natives?’, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 108–122. doi: 10.14742/ajet.1233

Kinash, S., Brand, J. & Mathew, T. (2012) ‘Challenging mobile learning discourse through research: student perceptions of blackboard mobile learn and iPads’, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 639–655. doi: 10.14742/ajet.832

Kim, J. H., et al., (2014) ‘Differences in typing forces, muscle activity, comfort, and typing performance among virtual, notebook, and desktop keyboards’, Applied Ergonomics, vol. 45, no. 6, pp. 1406–1413. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2014.04.001

Miner, S. & Stefaniak, J. E. (2018) ‘Learning via video in higher education: an exploration of instructor and student perceptions’, Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice, vol. 15, no. 2, p. 2. doi: 10.28945/4111

Myrberg, C. & Wiberg, N. (2015) ‘Screen vs. paper: what is the difference for reading and learning?’, Insights, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 49–54. doi: 10.1629/uksg.236

O’Bannon, B. W., et al., (2011) ‘Using podcasts to replace lecture: effects on student achievement’, Computers & Education, vol. 57, no. 3, pp. 1885–1892. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2011.04.001

O’Flaherty, J. & Phillips, C. (2015) ‘The use of flipped classrooms in higher education: a scoping review’, The internet and Higher Education, vol. 25, pp. 85–95. doi: 10.1016/j.iheduc.2015.02.002

Palilonis, J. & Bolchini, D. (2015) ‘Active reading behaviors in tablet-based learning’, Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 235–261. doi: 10.1108/10748120110424816

Prensky, M. (2001) ‘Digital natives, digital immigrants part 1’, On the Horizon, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 1–6. doi: 10.1108/10748120110424816

Reyal, S., Zhai, S. & Kristensson, P. O. (2015, April) ‘Performance and user experience of touchscreen and gesture keyboards in a lab setting and in the wild’, Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, New York, pp. 679–688. doi: 10.1145/2702123.2702597

Robinson, S. & Stubberud, H. A. (2011) ‘Student communication preferences for work/school and social purposes’, Academy of Educational Leadership, Columbus, OH, p. 55.

Robinson, S. & Stubberud, H. A. (2012) ‘Student choice of course materials’, Allied Academies International Conference. Academy of Educational Leadership, Columbus, OH, p. 41.

Ross, B., et al., (2017) ‘Print versus digital texts: understanding the experimental research and challenging the dichotomies’, Research in Learning Technology, vol. 25. doi: 10.25304/rlt.v25.1976

Scagnoli, N. I., Choo, J. & Tian, J. (2017) ‘Students’ insights on the use of video lectures in online classes’, British Journal of Educational Technology, pp. 339–414. doi: 10.1111/bjet.12572

Schuck, S., Kearney, M. & Burden, K. (2017) ‘Exploring mobile learning in the third space’, Technology, Pedagogy and Education, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 121–137. doi: 10.1080/1475939X.2016.1230555

Vogt, M., et al., (2010) ‘The impact of podcasting on the learning and satisfaction of undergraduate nursing students’, Nurse Education in Practice, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 38–42. doi: 10.1016/j.nepr.2009.03.006

Walls, S. M., et al., (2010) ‘Podcasting in education: are students as ready and eager as we think they are?’, Computers & Education, vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 371–378. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2009.08.018

Wilmer, H. H., Sherman, L. E. & Chein, J. M. (2017) ‘Smartphones and cognition: a review of research exploring the links between mobile technology habits and cognitive functioning’, Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 8, p. 605. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00605
How to Cite
Namuddu J., & Watts P. N. (2020). Choice of device to view video lectures: an analysis of two independent cohorts of first-year university students. Research in Learning Technology, 28.
Original Research Articles