Study Choices by Introductory Accounting Students: Those Who Choose to Study by Reading Text Outperform Those Who Choose to Study by Watching Video Lectures
38 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2016
Date Written: December 31, 2015
We use student-level online resource usage data for students in four different introductory accounting courses to explore students’ revealed preferences for reading text or watching video lectures. The online learning tool tracks student study choice (read text, watch video, or skip) on a paragraph-by-paragraph level. We match these usage data with student performance on course exams. Not surprisingly, we find that students who study more material earn higher exam scores than do students who study less material. We also find that students who self-select to do relatively more of their studying through reading text score higher on exams, on average, than do students who self-select to do relatively more of their studying through watching videos. Specifically, holding the overall amount of study constant, a student who chooses to spend the highest fraction of her or his study time watching video mini-lectures earns exam scores ten percentage points lower (six-tenths of a standard deviation) than a student who chooses to spend the lowest fraction of study time watching videos. Our evidence suggests that the highest-performing introductory accounting students choose to learn accounting proportionately more through reading than through watching. These results are a reminder that when we talk about using “technology” to help our students learn accounting, the written word is still an important technology.
Keywords: on-line learning, education technologies, video lectures, textbooks
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