A new study published in Psychological Science confirms research cited in The Future of Children's Children and Electronic Media issue, which suggests that educational videos for infants have little effect on learning.
In the recent study, led by Judy S. DeLoache of the University of Virginia, results demonstrated that children who viewed a best-selling infant-learning DVD, whether with their parents or without, did not learn any more words from their month-long exposure than did the control group. In fact, the highest level of learning occurred in the no-video condition in which parents tried to teach their children the same target words from the DVD during everyday activities.
These findings confirm previous research, which indicates that children under the age of eighteen months learn better from real-life experiences than from video. This is in part due to children's inability to understand television. Research studying eye patterns and attention to television shows that young children may be inattentive to dialogue and fail to integrate comprehension across successive scenes. Infants cannot imitate behaviors seen in video or transfer images learned from video to real-world problems, such as object-retrieval.
While more research is needed on infants and media, current research recommends basic methods to increase your infant's learning: talk to and interact with your baby.
For more information on the relationship between media and children of all ages, go to The Future of Children's volume on Children and Electronic Media.