Effects of gestures on older adults' learning from video-based models
This study investigated whether the positive effects of gestures on learning by decreasing working memory load, found in children and young adults, also apply to older adults, who might especially benefit from gestures given memory deficits associated with aging. Participants learned a problem-solving skill by observing a video-based modeling example, with the human model using gesture cues, with a symbolic cue, or without cues. It was expected that gesture compared with symbolic or no cues (i) improves learning and transfer performance, (ii) more in complex than simple problems, and (iii) especially in older adults. Although older adults' learning outcomes were lower overall than that of children and young adults, the results only revealed a time-on-task advantage of gesture over no cues in the learning phase for the older adults. In conclusion, the present study did not provide strong support for the effectiveness of gestures on learning from video-based modeling example.