Humanizing Instructional Videos in Physics: When Less Is More

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Many instructors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields are striving to create active learning environments in their classrooms and in doing so are frequently moving the lecture portion of their course into online video format. In this classroom-based study, we used a two group randomized experimental design to examine the efficacy of an instructional video that incorporates a human hand demonstrating and modeling how to solve frictional inclined plane problems compared to an identical video that did not include the human hand. The results show that the learners who viewed the video without the human hand present performed significantly better on a learning test and experienced a significantly better training efficiency than the learners who viewed the video with the human hand present. Meanwhile, those who learned with the human hand present in the instructional video rated the instructor as being more humanlike and engaging. The results have implications for both theory and practice. Implications for those designing instructional videos are discussed, as well as the limitations of the current study.



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