Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Study finds babies do learn from videos

By Megan McRainey

Children under two years old can learn certain communication skills from a video, such as how to use signs in sign language, and perform similarly in tests when compared to babies taught by their parents, according to a new paper in the journal Child Development.

Led by researchers at Emory, the study is the first to isolate the effects of purportedly educational commercial videos on infant learning. The results contradict previous research, which showed little evidence of learning from video in children under the age of two, or less robust learning than more traditional forms of parent instruction.

Emory’s study found that babies were consistently able to understand the signs and pick out a photo of the corresponding object after watching an instructional video for 15 minutes, four times a week for three weeks. Babies who watched the video performed just as well in tests as babies who had been taught signs by their parents under similar conditions (15 minutes of instruction, four times per week for three weeks) but without a video.

After a week without instruction, babies in all experimental groups were still able to produce the signs — a much more difficult task than simply recognizing them. However, babies in parent-supported groups were able to produce a greater number of signs overall.

Read more about the study here.

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