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A Laboratory Study of Student Usage of Worked-example Videos to Support Problem Solving

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Homework, Learning, and Problem Solving in Mechanics

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Edward J. Berger Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Edward Berger is an Associate Professor of Engineering Education and Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, joining Purdue in August 2014. He has been teaching mechanics for nearly 20 years, and has worked extensively on the integration and assessment of specific technology interventions in mechanics classes. He was one of the co-leaders in 2013-2014 of the ASEE Virtual Community of Practice (VCP) for mechanics educators across the country.

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Michael Wilson Purdue University, West Lafayette

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M.D. WILSON is a lecturer for the Krannert School of Management, the entrepreneur-in-residence for the Office of Future Engineers, and a Ph.D. candidate at Purdue University in the College of Engineering; his "Pracademic" background combines rigorous research with practical experiences. Wilson started, sold, and consulted Fortune companies in the University-Industry entrepreneurial space for over twenty successful years. He earned a Bachelors of Science from the University of Massachusetts and a Masters from the University of Chicago; his broad research interests include Engineering Education, Network Science, and Modeling Human Sociometrics. Professor Wilson may be reached at

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Despite the commonplace usage of video resources for engineering instruction, our understanding of precisely how students use such videos to support their problem solving and learning is incomplete. Researchers generally find that both students and faculty like using instructional videos (provided that they are ‘well constructed’), especially in the format of so-called ‘worked examples’ in which an expert records a problem solution for learner consumption. Cognitive load theory (CLT) has successfully affirmed instructional worked-example interventions as more effective and efficient than problem solving in novice-phase skill acquisition. However, most worked-example studies look at pre/post performance on problem solving in which the worked-example is the intervention, rather than studying student use of the worked-example itself in great detail. This study begins to address that gap in our understanding. In this laboratory-based research, we studied problem-solving processes of a group of 13 sophomore students enrolled in a dynamics course. In the experiment, students were presented a dynamics problem to be solved, plus a video described as ‘potentially useful’ to them and selected to cover concepts also used in the problem they were asked to solve. Real-time data about their problem solving process and use of the video was captured via Livescribe notebook (in which they wrote their solution) and Mirametrix eye-gaze capture system (which captured their interactions with the video). Pre- and post-surveys about student attitudes about technology, perceptions of task difficulty (via the NASA-TLX survey), and academic transcript information are also included in the data set. Experimental videos and transcripts were coded for themes, and data about both task efficiency and task performance were extracted from the experimental evidence. Taken together, the results suggest that student usage of video resources can be broadly described by several archetypes, although in this study successful problem solution was possible regardless of archetype. These results will continue to inform academic coaching of students in our classes about optimal use of video resources.

Berger, E. J., & Wilson, M. (2016, June), A Laboratory Study of Student Usage of Worked-example Videos to Support Problem Solving Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26342

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