The effect of instructor fluency on students’ perceptions of instructors, confidence in learning, and actual learning

Shana Carpenter, Laura Mickes, Shuhebur Rahman , Chad Fernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

259 Downloads (Pure)


Students’ judgments of their own learning are often misled by perceptions of fluency—the ease with which information is presented during learning. Lectures represent important learning experiences that contain variations in fluency, but have not been extensively studied. In the current study, students watched a 22-minute videotaped lecture that was delivered by the same instructor in either a fluent (strong, confident, and deliberate) manner, or in a disfluent (uncertain, hesitant, and disengaged) manner. Students then predicted their score on an upcoming test over the information, rated the instructor on traditional evaluation measures, and took a multiple-choice test over the information immediately (Experiment 1) after 10 minutes (Experiment 2), or after one day (Experiment 3). The fluent instructor was rated significantly higher than the disfluent instructor, but test scores did not consistently differ between the two conditions. Though students did not indicate higher confidence overall in learning from a fluent instructor, Experiment 3 found that when participants base their confidence on the instructor, those in the fluent condition were more likely to be overconfident. These findings indicate that instructor fluency leads to higher ratings of instructors and can lead to higher confidence, but it does not necessarily lead to better learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-172
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

Cite this