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The Effect Of On Demand Instructional Videos On Medium Term Retention Of Mechanics Skills

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Improving Mechanics & Structural Modeling Courses

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1206.1 - 14.1206.8



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Paper Authors


James Ledlie Klosky United States Military Academy

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Led Klosky is an Associate Professor and Acting Deputy Head in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Dr. Klosky received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1987 and 1988, respectively. He earned a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1997, He is a registered Professional Engineer in Maryland.

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Elizabeth Bristow United States Military Academy

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Elizabeth Bristow is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point. She received her B.S. (2002), M.Eng. (2004) and Ph.D. (2006), all in Civil Engineering, from Texas A&M University. Her research interests include the security of water distribution systems, their role in effective emergency response, and their interdependence with other critical infrastructures.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Effect of On-Demand Instructional Videos on Medium-Term Retention of Mechanics Skills


Recent experience with on-demand instruction via web-based videos indicates some correlation between video use and student performance in same-semester graded events (Klosky, Bruhl and Bristow, 20081,2). A key question remains: does including these on-demand videos improve student performance and retention in the longer term? This paper concludes that the videos have a positive effect on student retention, and addresses the effect of these same videos on the medium-term retention (semester to semester with a summer break between) of basic task knowledge in fundamental areas of mechanics, such as production of shear and moment diagrams. The basic mechanism used to evaluate the effect was the actual versus the predicted performance of the students on two events: an ungraded written evaluative event conducted on the first day of class in the fall. This performance was cross-indexed with video use, which was tracked automatically via the website serving the videos in the previous spring semester. Grades will be predicted using a model established by the authors and presented previously (Bruhl, Bristow and Klosky, 20083). Rigorous statistical analysis was undertaken to establish the efficacy of the videos and the probable positive effect of those videos on student performance of basic mechanics tasks. Recommendations are presented related to the implications of these findings and the best practices for the use of on-demand video instructions.

Introduction/Background The presence of short, high-impact videos in the entertainment marketplace is now ubiquitous, and many engineering students are highly comfortable with that format. However, university educators have been slow to adopt this format for the propagation of knowledge. Nearly all engineering educators continue to prefer the familiar “push” format as compared to the more difficult-to-manage provision of “pull” content that can be absorbed by the student at any time according to their needs (Klosky et al., 20082). It is certainly true that a lot of highly varied content is now much easier to sort and more widely available than previously, and that content is growing very quickly; witness, for instance, MIT’s OpenCourseWare initiative, which is piling enormous amounts of course material onto the internet. This content, though, is mostly relatively traditional (Boroughs, 20094) and not specifically tailored as supplemental material intended to enhance student comprehension. The authors made an extensive search of the internet, and from our observations, it remains true that the majority of the video content available for student consumption in all venues, not just OpenCourseWare, is simply recordings of the traditional lecture-style presentation posted to the web.

In 2007, the authors set out to determine whether short, highly-focused, instructor-made videos could be used to improve student comprehension and performance in a basic course in Statics and Strength of Materials (Statics-Strengths). An in-depth study of the effectiveness of this instructional method, labeled Video AI (for Additional Instruction) was undertaken, and the conclusion was that the introduction of such content did marginally improved student

Klosky, J. L., & Bristow, E. (2009, June), The Effect Of On Demand Instructional Videos On Medium Term Retention Of Mechanics Skills Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5246

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