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Online instructional videos and learning of practical skills

In recent years, innovations in the distribution of video have enabled a new massively prevalent social and pedagogic phenomenon: the online instructional video.

There are literally millions of videos that provide step-by-step instructions on mundane and exotic skills – how to use chopsticks, calculate taxes or learn complex crafts. While some of these videos are watched only by a few, others attract huge audiences. To take a simple example, one YouTube Origami video “how to make a paper star” has been viewed over eight million times. In contrast to Wikipedia, with its library of information, these videos act as massive online library of skills and practices. The popularity of online instructional videos has been party enabled by new mobile technology. Producing a widely accessible video only needs a camera mobile phone. Moreover, devices such as tablets have made it possible to look for and find instructions on specific matters at the time and place when instructions are needed.

Drawing on the growing interest in practices of making and our relationships with materials, this project focuses on understanding online video instruction and the learning of manual skills. We will move beyond concepts such as demonstration or imitation, that gloss on the diversity and intricateness involved in the following of such instructions. Videos present a distinctive form of online media – one that to understand necessitates detailed analyses of actual instruction following.

Project members

Oskar Lindwall, associate professor, project leader
E-mail: oskar.lindwall@gu.se

Barry Brown, professor, KTH
Thomas Hillman, associate professor, IPKL
Sylvaine Tuncer, post doc, KTH


Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation

Page Manager: IPKL webbredaktion|Last update: 8/24/2018

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