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Welcome to the inaugural edition of Learning Science Weekly, the email that’s the smarter way to stay on top of updates related to the science of learning and how it can be applied in corporate and customer education. In this issue, our editors* will share content that can help you create evidence-based learning experiences that drive real-world results.

Let’s dive into the roundup of research you might have missed. 🤠‍

Look Over There!

Researchers in China recently took a look at the impact of an instructor’s gaze during video lectures in this article from the January 2020 issue of Computers & Education. According to social agency theory (check out Mayer, 2014), eye contact can promote a sense of interaction, even in pre-recorded lectures, that can lead to student engagement and deeper cognitive processing. So, does that mean we should stare at the camera when filming instructional videos? Not exactly. These researchers studied three different variations of “eye gaze”: direct (looking at the camera), guided (looking at content shown on the screen), or averted (looking off-camera). They discovered that students who viewed the videos where the instructor was also looking at slides (guided gaze) paid greater attention to the slides and did better on the post-video assessment.

Key Takeaway: an instructor should not always look directly at the camera throughout the entire lecture; if there are graphics on the screen, the instructor should look towards those.

Read More: Instructor Presence in Video Lectures: Eye Gaze Matters, but Not Body Orientation

Let’s Talk about It

Following along with the theme of video lectures… researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology investigated whether group discussions after watching an instructional video impacted knowledge retention. In this study from 2018, employees who watched a video and had a structured, facilitated discussion about it retained 25% more information than those who simply watched the video. Some participants had an informal discussion, but their retention was no better than the “no discussion at all” group.

Key Takeaway: leveraging discussion tools can enhance retention, but only if the conversation is focused.

Read More: There's more to this study, including the benefits of interpolated testing, if you're interested: Enhancing Workplace Digital Learning by Use of the Science of Learning

Recap: Let's Talk about It... Again

On Intellum’s Experience site, we posted an article about the benefits of collaborative learning, which has the potential to encourage knowledge retention as well as learner engagement.

Key Takeaway: chat can be a valuable addition to any course to encourage collaborative learning.

Read More: Leveraging Chat to Improve Learning

FoMOW: The Fear of Missing Out… at Work?!

This article, from the March 2020 issue of Computers in Human Behavior, felt relevant as many of us are now working from home and missing a lot of water cooler conversations, thanks to COVID-19. In this study, psychologists established a new construct, Fear of Missing Out at Work (FoMOW), that predicts higher work burnout. If you find yourself constantly checking Slack and worrying that you’re missing out on relationships, information, and potential career opportunities, you could be experiencing FoMOW.

Key Takeaway: having flexible work schedules and mandatory time off might reduce negative effects of high FoMOW.

Read More: The Fear of Missing Out at Work: Examining Costs and Benefits to Employee Health and Motivation

What We’re Reading

Understanding How We Learn: A Visual Guide. Written by “The Learning Scientists” Drs. Yana Weinstein and Megan Sumeracki and illustrated by Oliver Caviglioli, this book is “a rejuvenating and fresh examination of cognitive psychology’s application to education.” Excellent overview of relevant cog-psy principles and evidence-based practices in the science of learning. Only downside: not geared toward application for adults, but it’s an easy leap to make.

Worth Reading? Only if you're interested in evidence-based research of what works when it comes to learning and development. 😉