Babies Can Learn New Words by Watching Educational Videos
A study in Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media investigates whether babies learn new words by watching educational videos. The study shows that babies aged 17 months and older can learn new words from educational videos. Younger babies do not seem to learn as much from the videos as older babies.
- Babies aged 17 months and older can learn new words through repeated exposure to educational videos.
- Surprisingly, it does not help when parents repeat the name of the objects and point at them.
- For parents and caretakers, it is important to know that repeat exposure seems to help babies learn from educational videos.
Do babies learn new words by repeatedly watching educational videos?
70 children aged 4 to 24 months (mean age: 14 months; 47% were boys)
Babies were randomly assigned to watch one of the two educational videos for 6 times over the next two weeks at home. The two videos were identical, expect that each contained three different new words. The video showed a dragon hand puppet playing with the new object (e.g., a water stopper), while a female voice stated the name of the object. Afterwards, the new object was shown being used in its correct context (e.g. the stopper being placed into the drain). In addition, some of the parents were asked to act as a mediator while their child was watching the video. Parents were instructed to say the name of the object shown while pointing at the object.
After two weeks, word learning was measured by the researcher. To measure word learning the object that was shown in the video was placed in front of the baby, along with a “distractor” object. The mother was instructed to say the name of the object that was shown in the video while a camera recorded where the baby looked. The time the baby spent looking at the object that was mentioned by the mother was used as the measure of word learning. Thus, the researcher assumed that the more time a baby spent looking at the object in the video, the better he or she had learned the word.
Facts and findings
- Babies learned new words from repeatedly watching the educational video (Figure 1):
- However, this was only true for babies older than 17 months of age.
- Younger babies did not seem to learn any words from the video.
- Interestingly, children learned less words when their parents repeated the name of the object.