Why aren’t pre-recorded lectures working for all students?

Autistic students, students with ADHD and those with anxiety experience lower engagement with pre-recorded lectures but for different reasons.  


The graph shows the average student rating (out of 5) of overall engagement with their learning for pre-recorded lectures for students with different neurodiversity identities.

Pre-recorded lectures allow students to learn at their own pace in their own environment, at a time that suits them. So why do autistic students and those with ADHD or anxiety report lower engagement with their learning?

Looking closer

The answer lies in looking more closely at students’ engagement with their learning using a simple subconstructs approach. This breaks down the learning into aspects of cognitive, social, emotional and behavioural engagement. 

Autistic students distracted

77% Autistic students report feeling distracted during pre-recorded lectures, significantly higher than the 41% reported in the comparison group*.  Autistic students were also less likely to report feeling satisfied with their learning in pre-recorded lectures.

Students with ADHD frustrated

A significantly higher proportion of students with ADHD reported feeling frustrated with pre-recorded lectures than the comparison group*. None of the students with ADHD reported being able to concentrate in pre-recorded lectures.

Students with anxiety

Students with anxiety are also significantly less likely to be satisfied with their learning in pre-recorded lectures and are less likely to report their learning as independent or thorough.

So, what does this mean?

These early results suggest that we need to look closely at the use of pre-recorded lectures to see if they are working for all our students. We need to remember that even in a flexible format, there can still be barriers to inclusion for some students. These barriers might be in the way the lecture material is delivered, so we can think about the structure of the teaching as well as the content. Is it clear where the material in the lecture fits with the overall course and the previous material?  Is it clear what the student should be doing with the material?  What notes should be taken?  How much should the student be able to recall? How much follow-up reading is needed? Have we asked out students what’s working best for them? Have we provided alternatives that meet the needs of all students?


Share your experiences …

We’re continuing our study of the remote and in-person learning experiences of neurodiverse students. The online survey will stay open throughout the academic year.

* The comparison group includes students who did not report autism, ADHD, anxiety or another condition that might affect their experience of their learning

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