Determining the factors affecting student perceptions of a popular science video

  • Derek A. Muller University of Sydney
  • Manjula D. Sharma University of Sydney


Video is a widely used resource in teaching at all levels of education, yet research regarding its pedagogic development and use is inconsistent, dependent on outdated learning theories, and inapplicable to the current cohort of students. This study aimed to determine the key multimedia design features, from the student perspective, related to learning from the popular science video, Dr Karl's Falling Cats.The goal was to compare factors arising from three focus groups, each comprised of low, moderate, or highly interested students, with those outlined by current multimedia research. Overall, students' preferences coincided with research in the areas of context, tone, colours, sound, and onscreen text. Participants in the moderate and high interest groups were more accommodating to complex aspects of the film that overwhelmed some novices, consistent with the literature. Although the design of Falling Cats was largely based on intuitive choices, it adheres closely to research based principles; this is identified as one of the keys to its success.


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