Educational learning via technology, specifically through videos, has become quite common in today’s society. However, one study argues otherwise – in a study conducted by researchers including Juan Cristobal Castro-Alonso at the Center for Advanced Research at the Universidad de Chile, 104 Australian male and female students in both STEM and non-STEM fields were tested with computer tasks of learning abstract symbols. Memory recall of symbols when viewing static images as opposed to animations was assessed. The researchers found that after watching the animation, the students recalled fewer symbols correctly than after watching the static image. In this study, the researchers inferred that spatial ability and memory span, but not gender, affected performance. Castro states that while well-produced videos can make educational materials engaging for students, there’s a difference between being entertained and learning. Researchers also stated that that while gesticulating with hands is positive for learning, a static hand’s presence might not be as useful because it can serve as a distraction to the student. Castro stated that in building off limitations to the present study, he and his fellow researchers want to investigate if they can replicate the findings in more STEM-oriented tasks in order gain insight into how learning and memory through technology plays into a school’s curriculum.
Castro-Alonso, J. C., Ayres, P., Wong, M., & Paas, F. (2017). Learning symbols from permanent and transient visual presentations: Don’t overplay the hand. Computers & Education, 116, 1-13. Doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2017.08.011