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It seems like every week there are new statistics showing the benefits of using video content – particularly online. While stats can be interesting, they don’t necessarily answer the big question: why? Why is video such an effective form of communication?

In a very interesting book, Brain Rules by John Medina, I found three possible clues.


The fourth rule in Medina’s book is probably the most important for video. It basically says: “We don’t pay attention to boring things.” Medina explains, “The more attention the brain pays to a given stimulus, the more elaborately the information will be encoded and retained.” Or more simply put, “better attention equals better learning.”

This principle is vital for video production. Basically if video content is boring, no one will pay attention to it and learn anything from it. If it doesn’t engage attention, a video is as good as useless (an especially scary thought when thinking about safety videos). The lesson – don’t be boring.


According to Medina, “Vision Trumps All Other Senses” and this sensory emphasis on vision has a profound effect on human learning. What’s referred to as the “Pictorial Superiority Effect” basically means “…vision is probably the best single tool we have for learning anything.”

Therefore using images (as opposed to words or only sound) can greatly enhance the quality of learning. Images can also be an excellent tool for gaining attention. According to Medina, we pay attention to colour, orientation and size, but we pay “special attention” to motion. So it would seem that moving images are particularly effective for attention and learning.

Sensory Integration

Lastly, Medina’s 9th Brain rule says: to get the best results of learning “stimulate more of the senses at the same time.

Video is a medium that relies on stimulating the eyes as well as the ears, which could explain it is a more effective medium than visual only or audio only mediums.

So why is video such a powerful form of communication?

The answer: it’s all in our heads.

For more info on Brain Rules or to purchase the book visit Medina’s site here: http://brainrules.net

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