The Effect of Foreign Language and Subtitles on the Effectiveness of Instructional Videos.

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More and more manufacturers of assembly required products are starting to make use of online instructional videos, in addition to or instead of print manuals. As businesses are increasingly starting to operate on a global scale, these companies must cater to consumers from various countries. The current study has therefore investigated whether adaptation (using spoken L1 and/or L1 subtitles) or standardisation (using the lingua franca English) are preferred to improve the effectiveness of instructional videos. The effectivity of language use in instructional videos in this study was measured by using an instructional video on a LEGO house, which represented an assembly required product such as an IKEA wardrobe. Dutch participants were investigated as the Dutch population has been presumed to speak English as a foreign language. The research has drawn on the dual-coding hypothesis and the cognitive load theory and has tried to add to this body of literature by varying the cognitive load by manipulating the instructional video using three different types of information (visual, verbal and audiovisual). The findings imply that, in general, instructional videos neither become more effective by adapting language choice (L1 versus L2), nor by changing the presence or absence of subtitles. This suggests that the extra costs of adaptation do not outweigh its potential benefits, resulting in an argument in favour of standardisation.
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