A new study suggests that some of the educational claims of infant-learning videos and DVDs may be exaggerated.
Judy S. DeLoache, a researcher at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, recruited 96 families with children between the ages of 12 and 18 months for her study. Some of the children watched an unidentified, best-selling educational DVD—either alone or with parents—several times a week. The rest saw no DVD programs but were taught the same words featured in the commercial programs through everyday interactions with parents.
After a month, the researchers found that the DVD-watching toddlers learned little, regardless of whether they watched the video segments alone or with their parents. They knew no more words than children who had never seen the programs.
The study was published in the September issue of Psychological Science.
A version of this article appeared in the November 10, 2010 edition of Education Week as Toddler Learning