Reflecting the science of instruction? Screencasting in Australian and New Zealand academic libraries: a content analysis
Research problem Instructional screencasts are increasingly part of the online tutorial mix offered by academic libraries, but what makes for effective screencast design? This research provides a snapshot of screencast design in Australian and New Zealand academic libraries and appraises it through the lens of multimedia learning theory. Methodology Evidence-based design principles that promote effective learning for multimedia were identified from the research literature. A cognitive psychological approach was taken, drawing principally from Mayer’s cognitive theory of multimedia learning. The principles outlined in Mayer’s theory were translated into guidelines applicable to screencast tutorial production. These guidelines formed the basis for an assessment rubric which was applied to screencasts produced by New Zealand and Australian Universities. Content analysis was then applied to determine to what extent screencast tutorials in the sample reflected the principles outlined in Mayer’s theory. Results On average, screencasts from the institutions surveyed integrated 7.6 of 9 effective multimedia principles. The low variance across the sample suggests this high standard was approximated or exceeded by most tutorials. Australian and New Zealand libraries were of a comparable standard overall with similar areas of strength and weakness. Implications Mayer’s principles provide a useful foundation for designing effective multimedia instruction. The translation of these principles into screencast design guidelines will hopefully serve as useful considerations. Commonly neglected principles (coherence, signalling and segmenting) present areas for design improvement but also opportunities for further research in an academic library context.