Video for instruction – lessons learned

Those of us who, unfortunately, reached adult life before 1994, when the UK government introduced new electrical safety legislation, will probably be familiar with the process of wiring a plug. For some (including me), other than dimly remembered physics classes at school, this is the extent of their electrical knowledge.

Recently, I foolishly thought that this experience qualified me to replace the light in my bathroom. The diagrams that came with the new light, showing how the live, neutral and earth wires fitted into it, only confirmed my misplaced confidence. On removing the old light I was confronted by 3 cables, each with 3 wires protruding, and a light fitting with 4 slots for incoming wires. It turns out that, the light is connected in sequence to another light and to an extractor fan and things were a bit more tricky than I imagined.

Being a tight-fisted sort, I resorted to Google before ringing an electrician. After a bit of searching the following two videos came to my rescue and the lamp was fitted with only the aid of a £10 electric circuit tester:

This experience reminded me that, although my research is mostly concerned with using video for purposes other than straightforward instruction, such as student-produced media or using video for reflecting on practice, I might have underestimated the affordances of instructional video for practical work as discussed in this paper and outlined by Jack Kuoni here: So, assuming my house doesn’t burn down, more than some wiring tips were learned.

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