This must-watch video is from our friend Derek Muller, physics educator and science video blogger.
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. [ed. note: textbook definition of pseudoteaching]
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.
My Ph.D. thesis, which includes the content from the publications below, can be downloaded here: Designing Effective Multimedia for Physics Education
2008 Muller, D. A., Sharma, M. D. and Reimann, P.,
Raising cognitive load with linear multimedia to promote conceptual change, Science Education, 92(2), 278-296
2008 Muller, D. A., Bewes, J., Sharma, M. D. and Reimann, P.
Saying the wrong thing: Improving learning with multimedia by including misconceptions, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning,24(2), 144-155
2008 Muller, D. A., Lee, K. J. and Sharma, M. D.
Coherence or interest: Which is most important in online multimedia learning?, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology,24(2), 211-221
2007 Muller, D. A., Sharma, M. D., Eklund, J. and Reimann, P.
Conceptual change through vicarious learning in an authentic physics setting, Instructional Science, 35(6), 519-533
The implication of Derek’s research, both for online science videos and for in-the-classroom science lessons, are obvious. Derek discussed his PhD research in more detail in his previous post “What Puts the Pseudo in Pseudoteaching?” You can find more of Derek’s videos at Veritasium.com or on the Veritasium YouTube Channel. Follow him at @veritasium on Twitter.