Recommendations for the design of interactive video materials are often based on the premise that interactive video may overcome learners' preconceptions of television as "easy." This study investigated learner preconceptions of the difficulty of interactive video, instructional television, and television, and examined the effects of actively or covertly responding to practice questions on perceived mental effort, recall, and inferences. Seventy-one undergraduate students completed a questionnaire assessing their preconceptions of the difficulty of the three media, received their treatment, completed a questionnaire assessing perceived mental effort, then completed a recall and inference posttest. Before the lesson, the learners perceived it to be significantly easier to learn from interactive video than from instructional television and television, and significantly easier to learn from instructional television than from television. There were no significant differences in the mental effort ratings or inference scores among the three groups. The interactive video group recalled significantly more information than the television group. Possible reasons for findings and suggestions for further research are discussed.
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