A new study led by a professor from Iowa State University shows that difference between watching fluent and “disfluent” videos might not make a difference on whether viewers learn more or less.
Most of us enjoy watching TED talks and the speakers on the TED videos are nothing if not engaging, expressive, and fluent. The study presented two groups with videos – one fluent and one disfluent – and asked each to predict how much they would remember after watching them. The group with the fluent video predicted they would remember more based on the engaging speaker (“the instructor stood upright, maintained eye contact, and spoke fluidly without notes”). The result found that both groups remembered about the same amount regardless of the speaker.
One author begged to differ on this result and explained why we do learn and remember things from watching videos. One is that it gratifies “our preference for visual learning.” How many times have you found yourself more engaged in a PowerPoint presentation when it has been heavy on the visual side versus the text side? They also allow the viewer to choose what they want to watch, or “enable self-directed, ‘just-in-time’ learning,” giving them the choice of videos they watch to what interests them most for their educational needs.
Aside from spiraling into a black hole of YouTube videos, I enjoy watching TED talks and find that I do learn things from them that I never thought would interest me. Check them out for yourself sometime and see if you learn a little more than you thought.