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April 23, 2020 Thursday 03:41:07 PM IST

Irrelevant Jokes Distract Students

Teacher Insights

Use of funny jokes, cat videos or background music doesn't help students understand the main content of what is taught in multimedia classroom, according to a study by Washington State University. The use of 'seductive details' or information that is interesting but irrelevant can be detrimental to learning. The findings are based on an analysis of 58 studies involving 7,500 students.  Kripa Sundar, the Lead author of the paper said that student's attention is diverted to such irrelevant information instead of the content matter. The outcome was worse when the 'seductive detail' was placed next to informative and relevant diagrams or when it was constant, such as a static joke or image on a screen. The analysis supports the coherence principle in multimedia learning which recommends that all relevant information needs to be placed together and unnecessary information should be excluded.