Assessing the Effectiveness of Video Tutorials on Knowledge Transfer and Retention During Machining Training

Open Access
Harder, Todd Thomas
Area of Honors:
Mechanical Engineering
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Timothy William Simpson, Thesis Supervisor
  • Zoubeida Ounaies, Honors Advisor
  • Retention
  • Machining
  • Tutorial
  • Knowledge
  • Audiovisual
  • Learning
  • Video Tutorial
  • Machining Training
Physical prototyping, or developing a model of a design concept that exhibits important aspects of the product, is an essential part of the mechanical design process that cannot be undertaken without the development of basic machining skills. Currently, Penn State offers hands-on machining training for all mechanical engineering students through the Learning Factory. In an attempt to streamline this training, video tutorials were developed to simulate the standard training and provide a potential alternative to the hands-on experience. Therefore, the focus in this research was testing these video tutorials to determine how effective different technical communication methods are during machining training. Retention rates of the knowledge learned through the hands-on training versus the video tutorials in combination with the hands-on training were also assessed. Overall, video tutorial training was found to be more effective than hands-on training for both the manual mill and lathe in initial testing, with the differences in knowledge transfer being statistically significant in both cases. For retention, the group that viewed the video tutorials experienced knowledge decay at a slower rate for both machines, but the result was not statistically significant. Furthermore, the higher levels of noise in the machining environment were found to negatively impact the students’ learning. The objectives in this study are to identify a number of possible improvements in communication, specifically to allow inexperienced students to more easily attain proficiency in basic machining. Future work to assess alternative training programs and measure student improvements are also discussed.