No Matter How Many Times You Explain Something

derek

Derek Muller from @Veritasium guest posts on the Summit blog

It is a common view that “if only someone could break this down and explain it clearly enough, more people would understand.” However it is debatable whether clear, concise explanations really work. Research has shown that these may be positively received by viewers, who feel like they are learning and become more confident in their answers, but tests reveal they haven’t learned a thing. The apparent reason for the discrepancy is misconceptions. People have existing ideas about real world phenomena before they encounter scientific explanations. If a video presents scientific concepts in a clear, well illustrated way, viewers believe they are learning but they do not engage with the media on a deep enough level to realize that what was is presented differs from their prior knowledge. There is hope, however. Presenting common misconceptions in alongside the scientific concepts has been shown to increase learning by increasing the amount of mental effort students expend while watching it.



Derek Muller will be the MC at The Big Science Communications Summit 6th-7th June, Sydney. You can follow him on Twitter at @Veritasium

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  1. [...] Muller writes (and explains in more detail than I’m presenting here): “It is a common view that ‘if only someone could break [...]

  2. [...] It is a common view that “if only someone could break this down and explain it clearly enough, more people would understand.” However it is debatable whether clear, concise explanations really work.  [...]