To the top

Page Manager: Webmaster
Last update: 9/11/2012 3:13 PM

Tell a friend about this page
Print version

Online instructional vide… - University of Gothenburg, Sweden Till startsida
To content Read more about how we use cookies on

Online instructional videos and the demonstration and acquisition of practical skills.

Conference contribution
Authors Oskar Lindwall
Bryn Evans
Barry Brown
Thomas Hillman
Published in IIEMCA Biennial conference in Columbus, Ohio, USA JULY 10-13, 2017.
Publication year 2017
Published at The Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction, and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS)
Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Language en
Subject categories Sociology, Human Aspects of ICT, Communication Studies


Recent technological innovations in video production and distribution have enabled a new, massively prevalent phenomenon: online instructional videos that demonstrate how some practical project is to be accomplished. There are literally millions of videos that provide step-by-step instructions on mundane and exotic skills – how to braid hair, use chopsticks, or fix a broken dishwasher. While online videos often are discussed in terms of visual culture and social media, these videos are not produced just to be watched. Instead, instructional videos are specifically designed for the learning of skills and accomplishment of practical tasks. Although learning ‘bodily’ skills through ‘online’ videos can seem counterintuitive, these videos support a primordial pedagogy of ‘show and tell’ that allows for simultaneous commentary and demonstration. The first part of this presentation, focusing on the video ‘texts’ themselves, explores how actions and activities are broken down both verbally and visually into a series of distinctive components for the purpose of being seen and followed. Central here is the difference between doing something and showing that which is done; that is, how the skilled performance of an activity is turned into a demonstration. While all film relies on “the scenic recognizability of things like courses of action, visible relationships, familiar routines, etc” (Macbeth, 1999, p. 148), the instructional video puts additional demands on its viewer. The second part of this presentation focuses on how videos are used for the purpose of learning or doing the thing that is shown. We explicate how, when a video is watched as a set of instructions, the sense of it is to be found in the attempts of replicating or using what is shown – in following the step-by-step instructions on how to divide and weave hair, or in consulting some demonstrated procedures with a broken dishwasher and tools at hand.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

The University of Gothenburg uses cookies to provide you with the best possible user experience. By continuing on this website, you approve of our use of cookies.  What are cookies?