Building demonstrations from scratch: Understanding pedagogical communication in teaching interactions


Communication during joint action allows for the mutual exchange of information to support ongoing coordination between partners, and is particularly important in interactions where one individual must teach the other how to perform the relevant skill. Communicating a novel skill to a naive learner is highly challenging, and teachers may often use their own history of social learning (instruction, observation) to inform their decisions about how to teach. It is an open question how teachers approach pedagogical communication when their only experience of the skill is through individual learning, and the decision of how to teach it is entirely up to them. We present a study where participants first learned a motor timing task (Individual Learning) with two timing targets—absolute and relative timing—and then produced demonstrations emphasising one of the two targets. Results show considerable heterogeneity in Individual Learning outcomes of relative timing that was associated with specific kinematic features of participants’ movements. Furthermore, participants who learned this relative timing better then modulated these same kinematic parameters specifically when demonstrating the task for a new learner. Teachers recognise the task-relevant information they acquire through individual learning and strategically modulate this to communicate skills to naive learners.

Jul 11, 2023 9:00 AM
Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
James W.A. Strachan
James W.A. Strachan
Humboldt Fellow
he/him 🏳️‍🌈