Mezil, Yasmeen, Bhanu Sharma, Andrea Cross, Noori Akhtar-Danesh, Sandeep Raha, Brian W. Timmons (2020, April 18). Exercise messengers: Exploring student‐learning perceptions of a science animation video using Q‐methodology. The FASEB [Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology] Journal, 34(S1), 1. (doi: 10.1096/fasebj.2020.34.s1.06843) (Link: https://doi.org/10.1096/fasebj.2020.34.s1.06843)

Abstract: The utility of animation videos in teaching science to students has yielded mixed results, with some studies showing success in student engagement and performance, and others a lack thereof. While these discrepancies can be intrinsic to the type of video intervention, they may also be a result of the diverse learning perceptions within a given classroom. Some students may express higher engagement with animations, while others require additional tools for high‐level engagement to be reached. Q‐methodology combines qualitative and quantitative techniques to identify subjective viewpoints, thereby offering great potential to explore factors that may influence engagement with educational material. Using Q‐methodology and a knowledge retention assessment, we explored learning perceptions and performance of 31 elementary school‐aged children (16 boys and 15 girls aged 11 (SD=2) years) following the screening of an evidence‐based science animated video about exercise and bone physiology. We identified four salient learning perceptions within this sample, which were described as Engaged Learners, Action‐Takers, Interactive Learners, and Receptive Learners. We classified these perceptions based on student‐ranked statements related to video engagement, including knowledge attainment, action‐based thinking, enjoyment, learning preferences, and endorsement. Engaged Learners actively understood concepts explained in the video and promoted the use of the video as a learning tool in educational settings. Action‐Takers were able to reflect on the concepts in the video, and were motivated to change their behaviour based on the messaging of the video. Interactive Learners engaged least with the video while expressing a greater preference to discuss the content with their teacher. Lastly, Receptive Learners showed openness to the video, but still preferred traditional learning despite seeing utility in sharing the video with family and friends. The knowledge retention assessment showed that students scored an average of 79% (SD=16%), with 20/31 students performing above 80% on the assessment. We noted that Interactive Learners presented the lowest scores on knowledge retention relative to Engaged Learners and Receptive Learners (p=0.0200), suggesting a relationship between perceptions and performance. Using a chalkboard animated video, we showed that perceptions influence engagement and knowledge retention of scientific content. Identifying learning perceptions can help educators, scientists, and anatomists alike to generate learning tools that will effectively engage students with various types of perceptions while taking into consideration their learning preferences. With this information, we can refine science animation videos and/or supplement them with additional learning tools, thereby optimizing science education for every student in the classroom.

Yasmeen Mezil <mezilya@mcmaster.ca> is in the Medical Sciences Program, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

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