The Effectiveness of Science Videos in Education

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.

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2 Responses to “The Effectiveness of Science Videos in Education”

  1. jaksichja Says:

    I can’t help but wonder what a student would learn if they were responsible for making their own vid on the appropriate subject?

    Watch vids somewhat like watching tv of my generation—a lot of passive learning.

    The best way to learn science is to practice it. . . .

    I enjoyed hearing your point of view–very informative

  2. Margo Sabin Says:

    I am a huge fan of watching videos to learn (especially in science and math) and also using them as teaching aids in a science class. For example, when teaching physics – some things cannot be seen, but using a video that has been effectively created to demonstrate something like the double slit experiment is so helpful. This is also much cheaper than recreating every example yourself, and less time consuming.

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