Academic journal article International Journal of Instructional Media

Presentational Style of Video as an Affecting Factor in Learning

Academic journal article International Journal of Instructional Media

Presentational Style of Video as an Affecting Factor in Learning

Article excerpt

PURPOSE AND BACKGROUND

In the age of digital media and the Internet, video is still a popular medium for instruction in college classrooms. According to a recent survey by the National Institute of Multimedia Education in Japan (NIME, 2005), 83.4% of Japanese universities responded that their teachers use recorded video in their classrooms "very often" or "to some extent'. On the technology side, video is now easily transformed into a digital format and can be used as a DVD or on the Internet. Still in this case of media conversion, the content and symbol systems of the video are preserved and the visual narrative of the original video materials is not changed. How to use video more effectively for instruction is still a practical and theoretical concern for media study researchers.

In audiovisual narratives, the same subject matter can be presented in a variety of ways stylistically. The difference in presentational style may affect the learner's participation in watching the materials. This study then focused on presentational style of video materials as an affecting factor on viewers' involvement and also on their degree of learning. This area of focus is closely related to the practical issue of how and why video producers try to create better and more effective educational materials that would draw viewers' attention more into the subject matter. And why do we observe some presentations that are actually better than others and why do we watch them more carefully? To address these concerns, this study will test the following hypothesis: the style of a video, as well as students prior knowledge of and interest in its content, influences students involvement or mental participation in a video lesson and therefore influences learning.

This hypothesis is related to two fields of inquiry: a) learner's prior knowledge and interest, and b) findings of the past educational media study. Firstly, research shows that the most important and direct learning factor is prior knowledge of the domain. Dochy (1994) noted that knowledge measured prior to a course accounts for an average of more than 50 percent of the variance in posttest scores. The past predicts the future in this sense. Learning is also significantly predicated on student interest in the subject matter, a factor also related to prior knowledge. Tobias (1994) reported, "A meta-analysis indicated that interest accounted for 12% of the achievement variance in males and 6% in females." Interest is considered to be especially important in relation to student motivation. We can expect the style of video materials to be related to student s interest and therefore motivation to learn.

Secondly, what role does the medium play in learning? Past educational media studies have confirmed that the medium itself, be it television, film or video, does not affect learning directly. In his influential review, Clark (1983) reasoned that the medium itself no more influences student learning than the trucks that deliver our food influence our nutrition. Clark concluded student learning is instead predicated on teaching methods, lesson content, and factors related to the students themselves. In this sense, presentational style is less a factor of the medium itself and more a variable related to teaching methods and content. Here arises a question: "Does style matter?" The Open University (1981) responded to the classic question of whether style matters in its study package "Learning from Television" in which each of four kinds of instructional television programs were accompanied with its own learning strategy suggestions. In Japan, the National Institute of Multimedia Education produced six video programs on the same subject in different formats and analyzed students' responses to them (Saga, 1984). To state again here, the purpose of this study is to examine how the expressive or presentational styles of video materials affect learning in relation to student prior knowledge and interest in the subject matter. …

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