Teach and/or support learning
How students learn, both generally and within their subject/disciplinary area(s)
Spoken language is about the way you verbally present information to students. This might be in a face-to-face class like a lecture, a tutorial, or a workshop, or via asynchronous means, such as video-based learning. While the focus of this summary is on oral communication, the findings, conclusions, and application might have relevance to written text too.
Simple language improves a number of student outcomes. Conversational language increased both retention of knowledge (➕➕➕) and transfer to nearby problems (➕➕➕➕). It also increased perceived friendliness (➕➕➕➕) and effective cognitive processing (➕➕➕➕). It did not significantly improve student interest (➕). This was consistent for both 'polite' and 'personal' language.
Simple language connects us with students and reduces their cognitive load.
Students are trying to make sense of what we say. They are trying to integrate it into what they already know. Making language personal helps connect new knowledge to their existing experiences, and making it simple uses less cognitive load. 'Polite' language may be more autonomy supportive—more supportive of students' intrinsic motivation—than directive and commands, which some students may see as controlling.
Findings are from a systematic review of (mostly) randomised trials (➕➕➕➕➕) and findings were robust across domains with (mostly) narrow confidence intervals. There was some indication of publication bias (➖), the variability in effects was unclear (➖), and the review did not assess the risk of bias (➖).
Ginns, P., Martin, A. J., & Marsh, H. W. (2013). Designing Instructional Text in a Conversational Style: A Meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 25(4), 445–472. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-013-9228-0