• Academic Technology

To Capture Or Not To Capture Your Lectures

This post first appeared on the Arteveldehogeschool blog. Authors Dries Vanacker and Olaf Spittaels review the results of the institution’s internal research on the impact of the availability of recorded lectures on students’ academic performance and absenteeism.


Lecture capture study at Artevelde University College Ghent

Using lecture recordings as a substitute for the lectures does not affect the study results. Students who use available lecture recordings as a supplement to the lectures and other study materials have better study results. Confused? So were we!

Apparently the available literature is not very clear with regards to insights on lecture capture and the impact it might have on study attainment. The lack of clear insights encouraged us to conduct a study with the aim of refuting or nuancing bold or conflicting statements on the topic, in order to stimulate lecture capture usage among our faculty members. So, we dug a little deeper and performed a study on the topic.


At the end of academic year (AY) 2016-2017, the lecture capture platform Panopto was introduced at Artevelde University College Ghent. This platform enabled us to meet the lecturers’ demand to be able to offer enriched lecture recordings via low-tech solutions, in order to contribute to the construction of a motivational learning environment.

During the performed study, the activities of one lecturer and the students (N=498) within one course were monitored, recorded and analysed. The lecturer organised five face-to-face lectures. During AY 2017-2018, the lecturer made recordings of these lectures, which were made available via Panopto and the Learning Management System (LMS). During AY 2016-2017, the course unit was taught in the exact same way, but without the availability of lecture recordings.

Main findings

1. What is the impact of the availability of enriched lecture recordings on the students’ study results? 

The analysis of the data shows that there is a significant difference between the two academic years. For AY 2016-2017 the average grade was 11.22/20. 25.6% of the students failed in that academic year. The average grade for AY 2017-2018 was 13.6/20 and only 15.8% of the students failed. During AY 2016-2017 and AY 2017-2018, the lecturer used the same teaching method, with the same study materials. The only difference between the two academic years is the group of students and the availability of lecture recordings.

The analysis of the data shows that:

  • Students who viewed less than 50% of a lecture recording are more likely to fail.
  • Students who viewed less than 200 minutes (see Table 1) of lecture recordings have a 40% chance of failing the course unit, while students who viewed more than 200 minutes have a chance of failing the course unit of less than 10%.

Of course, we must also take into account that students who make more use of the lecture recordings may also be more motivated for and feel more involved in the course. Motivation can also explain the difference between users and non-users of the recordings. However, since we see that a generally better study result is obtained in the condition with enriched lecture recordings (and therefore also with the presumably more motivated students), and the number of failed students is remarkably lower in this condition (we believe that this includes the less motivated students), we can assume that the positive impact of the available lecture recordings is real.


Panopto lecture capture usage rates indicate that students who use the platform are more likely to succeed

Table 1. Percentage that obtains a certain exam result (column) per viewed recording time


2.What is the correlation between the availability of enriched lecture recordings and absenteeism?

Is there a significant number of students who do not attend the face-to-face lectures if enriched lecture recordings are available? The analysis of the data shows that:

  • There is no significant correlation between the availability of lecture recordings and lecture attendance.
  • Of the students who attended at least 60% (3/5) of the lectures, 60% to 65% also consulted the lecture recordings.
  • About 40% to 50% of the students who did not attend the lectures consulted the lecture recordings.

Therefore, it cannot be said that lecture recordings are mainly used by students who do not attend the lectures; on the contrary, the lecture recordings are viewed more often by students who regularly attend the lectures.

3. What are the main reasons for students to use the enriched lecture recordings?

  • Most students, regardless of their attendance during the lectures, use the lecture recordings to prepare for the exam or to better process the learning content.
  • Students who attended the lectures and did not consult the lecture recordings gave the lack of added value or the lack of time as the most important explanation.
  • Students who did not attend the lectures or view the lecture recordings indicated that they found the other study materials sufficient to process the learning content.



Based on the obtained results we can say that the availability of lecture recordings has a positive impact on study results and has no influence on students’ presence or absence. It may be interesting to carry out similar research within other disciplines to verify whether this statement is confirmed. Research states that the impact of lecture recordings can differ depending on the discipline in which the recordings are used. According to this research, the duration of the course unit, the duration of the face-to-face lecture and the size of the group could also influence the effect of lecture recordings. This is something that we will definitely take into account when designing a follow-up study.

The impact of the lecturer on lecture attendance should not be underestimated. A committed teacher who provides added value for the students through a well-considered educational organisation and lecture structure will most likely be able to count on a larger group of attending students. The communication to the students about lecture recording usage can also have an impact (e.g. that viewing recordings is not the same as actively looking for answers to certain problems during the lecture). This guide, developed by Nordmann et al. (2018) can help your students making effective and efficient use of lecture recordings.


Questions or doubts?

If you’re interested in the full report or if you would have any question or doubt, don’t hesitate to contact us via:

Dries Vanacker

Dries’ educational interests include blended learning, EdTech, gamification, virtual reality, open education and distance learning, 21st-century skills in higher education, innovation in higher education and the professional development of lecturers. Currently Dries is working on the integration of beacon technology and gamification in smart cities as a platform for informal learning, the use of Open Badges to valorise informal learning, the use of lecture capture, and the implementation of the Next Generation Digital Learning Environment. In addition, Dries is also involved in interdisciplinary international projects related to the co-creation of study materials through open-source initiatives.

Olaf Spittaels

Olaf is a psychologist who works as an educational developer and researcher at Artevelde University of Applied Sciences. Currently Olaf focuses on learning analytics and successful study behavior. Besides, Olaf is a passionate teacher with a strong general interest in innovative education.