The testing effect in video-based learning

Mentor: Hans van der Meij


The testing effect holds that long-term retention of learning is enhanced by retrieval practice rather than repeated study (Karpicky, & Roediger, 2008). A standard assumption for an instruction that includes a study period and a test period to see what is retained, is that learning occurs when people study and encode material. Therefore, additional learning should increase learning. Retrieving information on a test is sometimes considered a relatively neutral event that measures the learning that has occurred, but does not by itself produce learning. Research on the testing effect reveals otherwise: Testing is (much) more effective than restudying.

In this project you investigate whether this testing effect also exists for instructional video for software training. The topic for the video concerns formatting options in Word. More specifically, the topics are setting the margins for a whole text, indenting paragraphs enumerations and citations and automatically creating a table of contents. A considerable portion of the instructional materials (e.g., website, videos, practice files) and the research instruments (e.g., retention tests, transfer tests) can be resused from earlier studies (e.g., van der Meij, & van der Meij, 2016).

By and large the target audience (elementary or secondary school students) lacks the skills to perform these tasks, but needs these in formatting school reports. For this reason, it generally has always been found easy to find schools that are willing to partake in the study. 


First, you search the literature on the testing effect. Next, you decide about the set-up of an experiment that investigates this effect for video instructions.


  • Karpicke, J.D., & Roediger, H.L. (2008). The critical importance of retrieval for learning. Science, 319, 966-968.
  • Van der Meij, H., & Van der Meij, J. (2016). The effects of reviews in video tutorials. Journal of Computer-Assisted-Learning.