Critical thinking on YouTube using questions and answers

Year: 2017

Author: Lebedev, Petr

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Introduction: The public is increasingly engaging with educational videos through YouTube. While one of the goals of educational videos is to introduce viewers to new concepts it is also to shift viewer's understandings towards those more congruent with science. The shift has a reflective element - self-referential metacognition which is an important part of critical thinking (Abrami, et al.)

Research Question: When watching a YouTube educational video, do viewers self-report a shift in their understandings? If not, why not?

Methodology: This paper focuses on two videos by Dr Derek Muller of the popular YouTube channel Veritasium (4 million subscribers, 345 million total views).
The first video; "Four Revolutionary Riddles" was uploaded to YouTube on April 12, 2017. After the riddles, Derek encourages the viewers to respond or comment, receiving12000+ comments. On April 18th, Derek uploaded the second video containing solutions with a survey link asking if the viewers had changed their answers and to explain their reasoning if they did not change their answers. There were 2218 responses. The responses were analysed with a mixed methods approach.

Results: Of the 2218 respondents, when considering all four riddles, between 16-43% indicated they were correct. For riddle one, despite the fact that no one had given the precisely correct answer shown by Derek, 358 people reported that they did not change their answer. The predominant reasoning was that they were close enough to the correct answer. Whether they were reflecting and engaging in self-referential metacognition will be investigated further and presented in the paper/presentation.

Again, when considering all four riddles, 8-11% indicated that they did not change their answers even though they were incorrect. Their reasoning is varied and provides interesting insights into respondents reflective and metacognitive processes.
48-72% indicated that they changed their answers, which indicates they had a shift in understanding of these physics concepts, and potentially engaged in sound reflective and metacognitive processes.

Conclusion: This study provides insights into self-referential metacognition which is a part of critical thinking. The context for this is an educational question/answer format YouTube video. Most of the 2218 respondents did change their answers when provided with more evidence which suggests they have the skills of metacognition and self-reflection.
Detailed results will be presented as a paper and a presentation.