Learning with Media: Harnessing Viewpoint and Motion to Generate Fields of Potential Action

Sarah Lewis, Robb Lindgren, Shuai Wang, Roy D. Pea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Digital media, such as interactive video, games, and immersive worlds, offer rich visual perspectives, often allowing one to experience events through another's eyes. While prior research indicates that considering alternative perspectives facilitates understanding, little is known about how media-enhanced perspectives affect learning processes for higher-order concepts that require synthesis of ideas and making inferences such as reasoning about problems in science. Two experiments used digital video of a science instructional event to investigate features of visual perspective on engagement and knowledge construction. Study 1 showed that an embodied first-person viewpoint achieved using a head-mounted camera better supported learning than a traditional third-person view of the same event. In Study 2, applying a motion algorithm to both a first-person and third-person video allowed us to isolate the effects of viewpoint and camera motion. While the addition of artificial motion benefited learning for third-person viewers, only motion that is aligned with the actor's actions and affect enhances first-person viewing. Findings are considered in terms of how certain media position learners in relation to educational content. Specifically, we argue that media features such as viewpoint and motion can be configured in ways to create "fields of potential action" that engage viewers and optimize conditions for learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-136
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Media Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2019


  • digital media
  • learning
  • perspective
  • social cognition
  • video

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology


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