Are Video Tutorials Effective Learning Tools?

video tutorial symbolThe Internet provides a huge array of learning resources. Some like the well known Khan Academy videos are hailed by many as great learning tools. But not everyone is convinced of their effectiveness.  The text and video below by Derek Muller explains what he believes are their short comings. He holds that many such video tutorials are best used for review of material already learnt as opposed to learning new material. His comments seem reasonable,  but none the less I believe the Khan Academy and other similar video tutorials are a valuable resource. That does not mean there is no room for improvement.

It is a common view that “if only someone could break this down and explain it clearly enough, more students would understand.” Khan Academy is a great example of this approach with its clear, concise videos on science. However it is debatable whether they really work. Research has shown that these types of videos may be positively received by students. They feel like they are learning and become more confident in their answers, but tests reveal they haven’t learned anything. The apparent reason for the discrepancy is misconceptions. Students have existing ideas about scientific phenomena before viewing a video. If the video presents scientific concepts in a clear, well illustrated way, students believe they are learning but they do not engage with the media on a deep enough level to realize that what was is presented differs from their prior knowledge. There is hope, however. Presenting students’ common misconceptions in a video alongside the scientific concepts has been shown to increase learning by increasing the amount of mental effort students expend while watching it.

A copy of Muller’s PhD thesis: “Designing Effective Multimedia for a Physics Education” can be found at…

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s