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This chapter presents a theory that is positioned at the third level, namely, the four-component instructional design model (4C/ ID) model, and discusses how this theory can be used to design multimedia learning environments for complex learning. It presents a general description of how people learn complex skills in environments that are built from the four components, how instructional control can be organized in these environments, and how different media can be used to implement each component and instructional control. The relationship between the four components and the assumed cognitive architecture is explained. Educational media and 22 multimedia principles are related to each of the four components and instructional control. The chapter reviews the contributions of the 4C/ID model to cognitive theory and instructional design, indicating the limitations of the model, and sketching directions for future research.
The interactive relation and equivalence between working memory and attentional processes has been demonstrated by experimental, developmental, educational and clinical studies on preschoolers, schoolchildren, adolescents, younger adults and the elderly. It is important to understand the features of working memory from the ground theory of human cognitive architecture and its derived evolutionary educational psychology, which argue that the constraints of working memory are virtually necessary for both human survival and learning. Based on our knowledge of cognitive architecture and empirical research on effective instruction design that is in accordance with the functioning of working memory and related cognitive structures, cognitive load theory has been developed during recent decades to provide a number of principles for teaching and learning in a variety of settings. Much of this work has been carried out in a digital supported environment. In this chapter, recommendations based on cognitive load perspectives are presented along with further explorations of the potential for constructing digital supporting systems and tools.
Digital technologies bring many capabilities to the teaching and learning environment. Anyone with access to the Internet can easily and quickly locate multimedia information. Text, images, sound and video can be accessed with the movement of a mouse or at the stroke of a key. Synchronous (e.g., video teleconferencing, chat sessions) and asynchronous (via bulletin boards, emails and the like) collaboration is possible.
The capacity limitations of working memory are a major impediment when students are required to learn new material. Furthermore, those limitations are relatively inflexible. Nevertheless, in this chapter we explore one technique that can effectively expand working memory capacity. Under certain, well-defined conditions, presenting some information in visual mode and other information in auditory mode can expand effective working memory capacity and so reduce the effects of an excessive cognitive load. This effect is called the modality effect or modality principle. It is an instructional principle that can substantially increase learning. This chapter discusses the theory and data that underpin the principle and the instructional implications that flow from the principle.
There is evidence to indicate that the manner in which information is presented will affect how well it is learned and remembered (e.g., Mayer, Bove, Bryman, Mars, & Tapangco, 1996). This chapter deals with evidence documenting the importance of presentation modes, specifically the modality effect that occurs when information presented in a mixed mode (partly visual and partly auditory) is more effective than when the same information is presented in a single mode (either visual or auditory alone). The instructional version of the modality effect derives from the split-attention effect (see chapter 8), a phenomenon explicable by cognitive load theory (see chapter 2). It occurs when multiple sources of information that must be mentally integrated before they can be understood have written (and therefore visual) information presented in spoken (and therefore auditory) form.
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