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Research Suggests Watching Educational Videos Doesn't Help Learning

Educator's Research Suggests Watching Educational Videos Does Not Help Learning

One physics teacher's research has found that showing students educational videos relating to course matter did not help improve learning, according to

Specifically, Derek Muller's research studies focused on physics, but found that when showing "a good video by standard measures —that informs students about physics concepts- [it] did not result in the students learning the physics concepts," the article said.

Despite interviewing his students and finding that most found the videos to be easy to understand, that "that they exerted a moderate amount of mental effort in watching the videos," and were confident in their answers, students scored poorly on subsequent tests based on the concepts shown in the videos.

"Muller concluded that those 'clear,' 'concise' and 'easy to understand' expository videos that abound in science education do not appear to be particularly effective in teaching science," the article said.

Instead of relying on instructional videos to teach concepts, no matter how good the determined educational quality might be, Muller found through his studies that there is no substitute for "social learning."

"Based on his PhD research and several follow-up studies, Muller observed, 'Making a learner think seems best achieved in a social environment with other learners and a caring teacher.'"

Important to note is that Muller's research specifically studied the teaching of physics concepts, and he noted that in science education, many students hold misconceptions before learning.

"Science educators have observed that people, through their interactions with the physical world, develop all sorts of naïve theories and explanations for phenomena like how basketballs fly through the air. Unfortunately, many — if not most — of those theories and explanations are incorrect," the article said.

For this reason, students were more likely to hold misconceptions about concepts while watching the videos, and "the videos just bolstered the confidence that the students had in their initial, albeit incorrect, theories."

When Muller showed students a different kind of video, one designed by him to take a head-on approach to teaching concepts and de-bunking myths, students did show a slight increase in test performance.

"In this new video, the student talked about his misconceptions, giving the teacher a chance to offer correct physics explanations," according to the article.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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