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Developing and Testing a Video Tutorial for Software Training

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Purpose: Video tutorials for software training are rapidly becoming popular. A set of dedicated guidelines for the construction of such tutorials was recently advanced in Technical Communication (Van der Meij & Van der Meij, 2013). The present study set out to assess the cognitive and motivational effects of a video tutorial based on these guidelines.

Method: Participants were 65 students (mean age 12.0 years) from elementary school. The procedure was as follows. First, students completed a pre-test. Next, they viewed videos and completed practice tasks. Finally, students completed a post-test and retention-test.

Results: The pre-test revealed low scores on task relevance, and low initial task performance. During training, students reported positive mood states, high flow, and significantly higher task relevance than in pre-testing. Task performance rose significantly during training, and was also substantially higher on the post-test and retention-test than in pre-testing. Only cognitive factors significantly predicted task performance.

Conclusion: The effectiveness of the video tutorial attests to the quality of the design guidelines on which it was based. The critical contribution of specific guidelines are a potential area for further research.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2014

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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