Video modeling examples are videos in which an instructor explains and/or demonstrates how to perform a task or procedure. These examples have become increasingly prevalent in online and blended learning environments. Yet, specific guidelines for designing video modeling examples to optimize learning are scarce. One design aspect in which much variation is evident is whether the instructor is visible in the video. The instructor will attract learners' attention, at the expense of attention to what s/he is explaining and/or demonstrating. The question is whether that would affect learning. Therefore, this study investigated the effects of the mere presence of an instructor in a video example on attention allocation and learning. Participants' (N = 54) eye movements were recorded while they observed a video example on probability calculation that did or did not show the instructor. Subsequently, participants had to solve probability calculation problems like those presented in the video example. Results showed that learners in the ‘instructor visible’ condition looked at the instructor's face about 30% of the time while studying the video example, and there was no decline in attention to the instructor over time. However, there were no significant differences in learning outcomes among conditions.

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Computers in Human Behavior
Department of Psychology

van Wermeskerken, M, Ravensbergen, S. (Susanna), & van Gog, T. (2018). Effects of instructor presence in video modeling examples on attention and learning. Computers in Human Behavior. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2017.11.038