This experiment compared three forms of tutorials: text, video, and segmented videos. It asked participants to follow along with a step-by-step Excel conditional formatting tutorial, and then to transfer this knowledge to a new problem. Participants assigned to the text tutorial were much slower than those assigned the video tutorials. This performance difference was mostly due to the difficulty text participants had in detecting and recovering from errors. Error detection and recovery may explain performance differences found in earlier studies comparing text and video tutorials. Participants reported no difference in cognitive load between the three instructional formats. But, those with low pre-existing Excel skills reported higher cognitive load and made more errors on the knowledge transfer task. This study also found that self-reported Excel competency is only weakly correlated with actual performance on an Excel assessment.
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