Hybrid Hand

DIS • Designing Interactive Systems

I'm Better Off on My Own (2021)

Understanding How a Tutorial's Medium Affects Physical Skill Development

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The shift towards distance learning brought forth by the pandemic has highlighted the shortcomings of teaching physical skills at a distance. With the emergence of new augmented and connected mediums, new opportunities arise for transferring physical skills that have resisted traditional documentation methods. However, there lacks a framework that allows tutorial authors to capitalize on a new medium's unique affordances rather than remediating existing tutorial conventions. Our work analyzes a body of tutorials rendered in various mediums for centering clay on a pottery wheel – a foundational skill that exemplifies the difficulties of physical skill transfer. Through the lens of McLuhan's "The Medium is the Message" we synthesize a taxonomy of medium conventions and themes derived from analyzing a body of centering tutorials and observation of how a tutorial's medium affects how learners develop physical skills. We leverage our findings to motivate design recommendations to inform how new mediums can support material practices.

[Paper available June 2021]



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Shreyosi Endow
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Cesar Torres