ITEC 800 Research Project
Video vs. Text


1.      Introduction/Statement of Purpose.

     As a student in the Instruction Technology Department of San Francisco State University, it appears that the latest ‘must have’ for instructional web sites is imbedded video content; however, “although digital media has put video in the hands of many, there has been surprisingly little work exploring its unique potentials for learning” (Schwartz & Hartman, 2007, p 21). As band width and high speed access in almost any setting has become more available, the use of video on web sites for other than entertainment value has become expected. The question remains however; does video content enhance the learning experience? Are learners more likely to visit an instructional web site if there is video instruction?


    “Technology is acting as a catalyst, forcing a reexamination of traditional practices” (Pence, 2011, p 177).  As the use of video as an instructional tool increases, so does the investment in time that it takes to produce good video instruction. The cost to a web designer to include video, in addition to the storage space required, adds production costs to what was once a task that could be completed solely by the instructor, to a task that requires video equipment, editing software, and exponentially more time than it took to simply write a manual or set of instructions


     In my 797 class, I proposed a study that would evaluate the satisfaction of learners given two different approaches to learning a task. One provided by step by step text instructions, one with step by step video only instructions.


     Following the instruction, learners would be given a survey questionnaire that rates their satisfaction with the learning experience, and asks if they would prefer also trying the opposite option than the one they chose. It may also be possible to allow participants to try the other option, then ask them to rate which they felt was really more useful.


    While there is a large amount of information on how best to use Multimedia Tools, it would be expected that this study will provide information to web and course designers on the perceived value of including, or not including, video instructions on their web sites; and whether the learners perferences are significant enough to give additional options for text based content. Anecdotally, I have heard many older students express a desire for text rather than video, so it is also possible that the research needs to be generationally based.


2.      Research/Evaluation Questions.

     If an adult learner must choose between text only or video only instructions to complete a task with medium complexity, which will they choose?


    Will the type of task being learned show a significant difference in the choice between text and video?


3.      Project Design.

     A web site will be created that asks adult learners to teach themselves how to perform 1 of 2 different tasks. Once they select one of the tasks, they will then be taken to a page that asks them to select either video instruction only, or step by step text instruction only. The number of people selecting each task and each option will be counted.


     Each task will be different and require different skills. One will be cognitive (for example, learning how to play Sudoku). One will be physical (for example, how to make a specific knot in a piece of rope or string.