How to make science videos that work
This really speaks to the discussion we were having the other day when talking about traditional lectures vs. interaction, and in particular, open learning resources — just how valuable are the Khan Academy videos for learning? This video explains that it’s about highlighting the misconceptions that really helps with learning, which is something that you get with approaches like peer instruction. This approach is hard to use in computer science education, because we know so little about misconceptions and prior conceptions of computing.
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.