Pivot Interactives Research & Efficacy

December 13, 2021

Pivot Interactives Research Support & Efficacy Studies

We knew our interactive videos were helpful in the science classroom, because we created & started Pivot Interactives in our classrooms! The interactive videos seemed to be beneficial to student engagement, learning, and outcomes, but we needed to know for sure.

Through three different research studies, we found that Pivot Interactives interactive video is highly effective -- even compared to apparatus-based learning (Don't miss the complete peer-reviewed paper at the end)! This finding propelled us forward to continue to build Pivot Interactives into what it is today. We knew we had to share this platform to help teachers & educators provide a quality STEM education.

We have results from three studies that provide evidence that:

  • Students find interactive video engaging and find that it helps them understand the problem better than traditional methods.
  • Students prefer interactive video over worksheets.
  • Under controlled conditions, students who use a curriculum based on Pivot Interactives interactive video showed significantly greater learning gains on science process critical thinking skills even when compared to integrated hands-on learning.

Feedback from Student Surveys and Think-Alouds

Science education researchers at MIT and Carleton College measured students’ experience using Pivot Interactives interactive video compared to traditional methods:

  • 85% reported that our interactive video made it easier to understand the scenario being investigated
  • 92% said they’d encourage their friends to take courses that use our interactive video
  • 65% wished MIT’s online physics course included more of our interactive video
  • 60% reported an increase in using scientific skills like measurement technique when using our interactive video

Students also reported that they felt more confident using interactive video because they can see and measure the outcomes of events for themselves.

Teachers using Pivot Interactives report similar experiences. Students prefer active investigation using interactive video compared to learning via video lecture or word problems.

Controlled Study of Learning Gains in Critical Thinking

Teaching students to construct models that describe natural phenomena is a key part of science literacy. A year-long study using 160 university students and four instructors showed that students who use interactive video used in Pivot Interactives increased their ability to construct models (Model Making) compared with students who did not. Similarly, students who used Pivot Interactives instructional methods showed an increased ability to evaluate whether a known model adequately describes a new situation, a skill the authors called Model Breaking.

Significant findings:
  • The physics course in the study used SCALE-UP, an active learning curriculum with a significant hands-on apparatus-based component. Interactive video showed substantial learning gains -- even compared to this active learning environment.
  • Students who used interactive video to learn Model Making learned to develop a mathematical relationship between two parameters. For example, students used an array of interactive videos of transverse waves in a spring to develop the relationship between wavelength and frequency.
  • Students in this group outperformed the control group by over 20% on the end-of-semester assessment of Model Making.
  • Students who used interactive video to learn Model Breaking learned to apply a known model to a new situation and determine whether the model accurately described the outcome.
  • Students in this group outperformed students in the control group by 400% compared to the control group.

Further Resources

This peer-reviewed paper was published in the journal Physical Review Physics Education Research. A link to the paper is here.