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Cognitive and Motivational Effects of Practice with Videos for Software Training

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Purpose: Software makers nowadays regularly post videos on their websites to satisfy their clients' need for instructional support. Some of these designs include an opportunity for practice. This study investigated whether the presence and timing of practice affected motivation and learning in video-based software training. Method: An experiment is reported with four conditions: video-practice (VP), practice-video (PV), practice-video-practice (PVP), and video only (V). For motivation, the study assessed mood states and flow experience during training. In addition, task relevance and self-efficacy were measured before and after training. Learning was assessed with several performance tests for trained tasks. In addition, a transfer test was administered. Results: The findings for presence of practice were mixed. Practice increased training time and led to more negative mood states during training. A clear advantage of practice was found only on the transfer test. The findings for timing of practice favored a sequence in which instruction preceded practice. Perplexing results were found for the PVP condition. The highest learning gains were expected for this condition, but, instead, this condition had the lowest performance scores on a practice test and immediate post-test. Conclusion: This study indicates that the design issue of whether or not to complement video-based software training with practice is more complex than it seems.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2018

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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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