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Studying worked examples providing problem solutions to learners usually leads to better test performance than solving the equivalent problems without guidance, demonstrating the worked-example effect. The generation effect occurs when learners who generate answers without guidance learn better than those who read answers that provide guidance. The contradiction between these results can be hypothesised to be due to differences in the element interactivity of the learning tasks. Primary school students in Year 6 participated in the experiment, which investigated the hypothesis by using geometry materials. A disordinal interaction was obtained between levels of guidance and levels of element interactivity. Higher levels of guidance facilitated learning using high element interactivity information, while lower levels of guidance facilitated learning for low element interactivity information. Cognitive load theory was used to explain these contrasting results. From an educational perspective, it was suggested that when determining levels of guidance, a consideration of element interactivity is essential.
The redundancy principle (or redundancy effect) suggests that redundant material interferes with rather than facilitates learning. Redundancy occurs when the same information is presented concurrently in multiple forms or is unnecessarily elaborated. According to cognitive load theory, coordinating redundant information with essential information increases working memory load, which may interfere with learning. Eliminating such redundant information removes the requirement to coordinate multiple sources of information. Accordingly, instructional designs that eliminate redundant material can be superior to those that include redundancy. This chapter summarizes research and theory concerned with the effect of processing redundant information in multimedia learning, a history of research in instructional redundancy, the conditions of applicability of this principle, and its instructional implications.
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.
Human cognitive architecture indicates the manner in which cognitive structures and processes are organized. In turn, that architecture can be used to hypothesize the relative effectiveness of alternative instructional designs. Over several decades, cognitive load theory has simultaneously identified those aspects of human cognition relevant to instructional issues and tested the resultant hypotheses using randomized, controlled experiments. The cognitive architecture used by cognitive load theory has continually been developed and refined over this period. Currently, that architecture is based on evolutionary principles. This chapter outlines the cognitive architecture used by cognitive load theory and provides a general indicator of its relevance to instructional design issues associated with multimedia instruction.
This chapter presents an integrated model of text and picture comprehension (ITPC model) that takes into account that learners can use multiple sensory modalities combined with different forms of representation. Multimedia learning can occur in different forms. When learners understand texts and pictures, they construct multiple mental representations in their cognitive system. Research in cognitive psychology suggests that the architecture of the human cognitive system includes multiple memory systems. A common view proposed by Atkinson and Shiffrin distinguishes three memory subsystems - sensory registers, working memory, and long-term memory with different functions and different constraints on processing texts and pictures. The ITPC model of text and picture comprehension provides a framework for the analysis of learning from multiple representations including spoken or written text, visual pictures, and sound pictures. Future research will clarify whether the ITPC model is a useful tool for the analysis of text-picture integration.
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.
Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) began as an instructional theory based on our knowledge of human cognitive architecture. It proved successful in generating a series of cognitive load effects derived from the results of randomised, controlled experiments (Clark, Nguyen, & Sweller, 2006). This chapter summarises the theory, including its general instructional implications. Many of the theory's specific instructional implications, which provide its prime function and purpose, are discussed in other chapters in this volume and therefore will not be discussed in detail in this chapter (see Table 2.1 for a summary).
The processes of human cognition constitute a natural information-processing system that mimics the system that gave rise to human cognitive architecture: evolution by natural selection. Both human cognition and biological evolution create novel information, store it for subsequent use, and are capable of disseminating that information indefinitely over space and time. By considering human cognition within an evolutionary framework, our understanding of the structures and functions of our cognitive architecture are being transformed. In turn, that cognitive architecture has profound instructional consequences. CLT is an amalgam of human cognitive architecture and the instructional consequences that flow from that architecture.
From an evolutionary perspective, there are two categories of human knowledge: biologically primary and biologically secondary knowledge (Geary, 2007, 2008). Biologically primary knowledge is knowledge we have evolved to acquire over many generations. Examples are general problem-solving techniques, recognising faces, engaging in social relations, and listening to and speaking our native language.
Humans have evolved with a working memory that has no logical central executive available when required to organise novel information. Consequently, failing instruction, we must randomly propose organisational combinations and test them for effectiveness. This procedure is only possible with a very limited number of elements and as a consequence, working memory is severely limited when dealing with novel information. In contrast, familiar, organised information previously stored in long-term memory can act as a central executive and eliminate the need for working memory limitations. These structures are central to cognitive load theory. They suggest that instruction should act as substitute for the missing central executive when dealing with novel information and that factor, in turn, determines multimedia instructional principles.
Good instructional design is driven by our knowledge of human cognitive structures and the manner in which those structures are organised into a cognitive architecture. Without knowledge of relevant aspects of human cognitive architecture such as the characteristics of and intricate relations between working memory and long-term memory, the effectiveness of instructional design is likely to be random. Cognitive load theory has been one of the theories used to integrate our knowledge of human cognitive structures and instructional design principles. This chapter is concerned with the elements of that theory and its general implications for multimedia learning, specifically, words presented in spoken or written form along with pictures or diagrams.
The split-attention principle states that when designing instruction, including multimedia instruction, it is important to avoid formats that require learners to split their attention between, and mentally integrate, multiple sources of information. Instead, materials should be formatted so that disparate sources of information are physically and temporally integrated thus obviating the need for learners to engage in mental integration. By eliminating the need to mentally integrate multiple sources of information, extraneous working memory load is reduced, freeing resources for learning. This chapter provides the theoretical rationale, based on cognitive load theory, for the split-attention principle, describes the major experiments that establish the validity of the principle, and indicates the instructional design implications when dealing with multimedia materials.
Definition of Split-Attention
Instructional split-attention occurs when learners are required to split their attention between and mentally integrate several sources of physically or temporally disparate information, where each source of information is essential for understanding the material. Cognitive load is increased by the need to mentally integrate the multiple sources of information. This increase in extraneous cognitive load (see chapter 2) is likely to have a negative impact on learning compared to conditions where the information has been restructured to eliminate the need to split attention. Restructuring occurs by physically or temporally integrating disparate sources of information to eliminate the need for mental integration. The split-attention effect occurs when learners studying integrated information outperform learners studying the same information presented in split-attention format. The split-attention principle flows from the split-attention effect.
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.
The redundancy principle suggests that redundant material interferes with rather than facilitates learning. Redundancy occurs when the same information is presented in multiple forms or is unnecessarily elaborated. In this chapter, the long, but until recently unknown, history of the principle is traced. In addition, an explanation of the principle using cognitive load theory is provided. The theory suggests that coordinating redundant information with essential information increases working memory load, which interferes with the transfer of information to long-term memory. Eliminating redundant information eliminates the requirement to coordinate multiple sources of information. Accordingly, instructional designs that eliminate redundant material can be superior to those that include redundancy.
The history of the redundancy effect or principle is a history of academic amnesia. The effect has been discovered, forgotten, and rediscovered many times over many decades. This unusual history probably has two related causes: first, the effect is seen as counterintuitive by many researchers and practitioners and second, until recently, there has not been a clear theoretical explanation to place it into context. As a consequence of these two factors, demonstrations of the effect have tended to be treated as isolated peculiarities unconnected to any mainstream work. Memories of each demonstration have faded with the passage of time until the next demonstration has appeared. Worse, each demonstration has tended to be unconnected to the previous one. Hopefully, current explanations of the effect can alter this lamentable state of affairs.
The metric devised by Halford, Wilson & Phillips may have
considerable potential in distinguishing between the working memory
demands of different tasks but may be less effective in distinguishing
working memory capacity between individuals. Despite the strengths
of the metric, determining whether an effect is caused by relational
complexity or by differential levels of expertise is currently
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