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Experimental research on digital video tools used to support learning and skills acquisition in history and language arts

Knowledge Exchange Lab


2007 - 2010


German Science Foundation (DFG)



Digital video tools afford new ways of learning in school-based education, especially in subjects like history, social studies and language arts. Here, students can discuss and reflect on social/ historical topics based on video information and learn through designing their own media products using video tools (e.g., they may design a webpage). By doing so, they can acquire important media-related communication skills, too. In this DFG-funded project we investigated the technical, cognitive and social conditions necessary for effective collaboration and successful learning with video tools. Results from a series of experiments show that video tools can support collaboration in design tasks und the acquisition of media-related skills (Zahn,Pea, Hesse & Rosen, 2010). This was evidenced not only in our research labs, but also in a large field study with 234 16-year-old German students (Zahn, Krauskopf, Hesse & Pea, 2010). Further analyses demonstrated positive effects of social interaction related instructional guidance on the outcomes of collaborative learning in a design task. The project was conducted by PD Dr. Carmen Zahn, Prof. Dr. Dr. Friedrich W. Hesse and Dipl. Psych. Karsten Krauskopf. It is part of the DFG funded research group „Analysis und advancement of effective teaching and learning" (Chairperson: Prof. Dr. Dr. Friedrich W. Hesse) in cooperation with the educational science department at the University of Tübingen, Germany, and Prof. Roy Pea, Director of the Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning, Stanford University, CA, USA.



  • Zahn, C., Pea, R., Hesse, F. W., & Rosen, J. (2010). Comparing simple and advanced video tools as supports for collaborative design processes. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 19(3), 403-440.
  • Zahn, C., Krauskopf, K., Hesse, F.W., & Pea, R. (2010). Digital video tools in the classroom: How to support meaningful collaboration and critical advanced thinking of students? In M. S. Khine & I. M.Saleh (Eds.), New Science of Learning: Cognition, Computers and Collaboration in Education (pp. 503-523). New York: Springer.
  • Zahn, C., Krauskopf, K., Pea, R., & Hesse, F. W. (2010). Digital Video Tools in the Classroom: Empirical Studies on Constructivist Learning with Audio-visual Media in the Domain of History. In K. Gomez, L. Lyons, & J. Radinsky (Eds.), Learning in the Disciplines: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2010) (Vol. 1 - Full Papers, pp. 620-627). Chicago, IL: Society of the Learning Sciences.
  • Zahn, C., Krauskopf, K., Hesse, F.W., & Pea, R. (2009). Participation in knowledge building “revisited”: Reflective discussion and information design with advanced digital video technology. In C. O'Malley, D. Suthers, P. Reimann, & A. Dimitracopoulou (Eds.), Computer Supported Collaborative Learning Practices: CSCL2009 Conference Proceedings (pp. 596-600). New Brunswick, NJ: International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS).