Message Design: Reading Reflection W4

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Reflection Week 4 Submitted: June 5, 2008 Reflection – Winn By: Jennifer Maddrell For: Dr. Morrison, IDT 895 Overview Winn, W. (1982) presents an essay related to visual cognitive processing. He addresses perception, information assimilation, and learning by analogy. The stated purpose is to discuss instructional practices based on visual cognitive processes. Visual Cognition What is it? Winn (1982) makes a distinction between visualization in learning (associated with the internal cognitive processes) and visualization in instruction (embedded and detached instructional strategies causing internal visual processing). While learning involves internal processes, instruction is external. Winn suggests that instruction, through the use of instructional strategies, attempts to address: a) basic cognitive processes, b) mental skills, and c) learning skills. Citing Rigney, Winn notes two types of strategies: 1) orienting tasks (triggering cognitive processes), and 2) student capabilities (mental skills), as well as detached (independent of subject matter) and embedded (within the instruction) strategies. Representation. As discussed in other papers below, the relationship between the visualization and the referent is important. Some, such as Knowlton, suggest the need for concrete and realistic representations, except in cases when abstract concept must be presented. Others, such as Salomon, do not share this belief, but view as more important the “correspondence”, or the meaning conveyed, and the internal processes (creation of knowledge structures or schemata). As such, a debate arises over whether visual information is processed internally as a) images or b) propositions which some suggest are ultimately integrated into a single representation. Schema. A key concern is the internal processing of visual information as it relates to the interaction of schemata with the perceived information. Conceived of as knowledge clusters, schemata represent concepts and relationships and influence how information is interpreted. Turvy distinguishes iconic memory (literal representations) from schematic memory (abstract representations). Research suggests that the processing level impacts how visual information is represented. At higher levels, visual information is stored and retrieved more abstractly in long term memory where it exists as schemata. Importance of Paper Heuristics for Designers. The paper provides a bridge between theory and practice. Instructional strategies related to visual processes are suggested to influence a) perceptual processes (integrative visual displays), b) assimilative processes (integrating into schemata), and c) analogical processes (temporary abstract schema). Strategies addressing perceptual processes are geared to assisting learners to integrate features of perceived information and involve placing related features near each other. Cuing strategies, which have been shown to improve assimilative processes, focus on integrating information into schemata, include drawing attention to critical attributes, the use of color, and embedding questions. Analogical strategies focus on the processing of new information where no schemata exist and include helping learners to create new links and structures through the use of visual images. 1|Page Reflection Week 4 Submitted: June 5, 2008 By: Jennifer Maddrell For: Dr. Morrison, IDT 895 Future Research. The paper also provides suggestions for future research. Given the importance of schema to the encoding and retrieval of visual information, research recommendations focus on assessment of strategies to not only address perceptual processing, but also strategies to support assimilation of to-be-learned information into existing schema. Reflection 2 – Anglin, Vaez, and Cunningham Overview Anglin, Vaez, and Cunningham (2004) provide a broad review of literature related to visual representations and learning, including the role of static and animated graphics. Citing Levie, they note four lines of research on illustrations: 1) picture perception, 2) memory for pictures, 3) learning and cognition, and 4) affective responses to pictures. Within this review, Anglin et al. review the theories and research in these areas and make recommendations for future studies. Theory of Perception Anglin et al. (2004) begin with a brief overview of theory related to picture perception. Based on work by Brunelleschi of Florence, a Renaissance theory emerged which is based on the technique of linear perspective as a means of representing a 3D image onto a 2D surface and the premise that our ability to understand pictures is due to optical equivalence between the picture and the referent. However, how does this premise account for different people having different perceptions or artists using different referent points to create the picture image? Launching from a linear perspective, Gibson’s resemblance theory of perception is based on a “point of observation” containing the same “kind of information” as the referent. Beyond lines and shapes, it includes other “invariants” which are described as stable and enduring structures of the referent. Gombrich extends the theory beyond the structure of the referent to the cognition of the receiver; as such, perception is in the eye of the beholder based on established and evolving schema. Yet, Hagen suggests that the meaning is reciprocally established between the stimulus and the receiver; each affects each other. Kennedy’s Metalistic Approach adds to the notion that it is incomplete to not consider the perspective of the one attempting to communicate the picture. What is the message he / she is attempting to communicate? Setting aside concepts of direct or personal perceptions, the Gestalt approach is founded in the notion that perception is an interpretation of the whole. In suggesting that the parts are not perceived at once, Hochberg argues against the Gestalt approach. In contrast to all of these perspectives, a semiotic approach forwarded by Knowlton is concerned with symbols and signs which are chosen to suggest or resemble the referent. Goodman extends the role of perspective based on resemblance of symbols to suggest a symbol system which can represent the referent by depicting it, exemplify the referent by being a sample, or express the affective meaning. Memory Models Research suggests that picture memory is superior to word memory. Models, including dual code (two codes for processing and storing information), single code (visual information is 2|Page Reflection Week 4 Submitted: June 5, 2008 By: Jennifer Maddrell For: Dr. Morrison, IDT 895 stored as abstract propositions), and sensory-semantic (pictures are processed semantically), are suggested to explain this. Importance of Paper Heuristics for Designers. Anglin et al. (2004) highlight numerous essays and research on the topic of pictures and knowledge. While the author’s note conflicting results across the numerous studies they survey, as well as difficulty in providing generalizable conclusions, the paper provides an incredible recap of findings and heuristics and offers a launching point for further research. The final table offers a useful summary of major studies, the treatment, as well as the results. Based on theories and research reviewed here and in previous reflections, it is important for designers to also consider the use of pictures and animated graphics in an attempt to reduce extraneous cognitive load. In addition, it is important for the designer to consider theory and research related to multiple representations (as in that by Ainsworth) in which multiple reorientations are used to a) complement, b) constrain, and c) construct. Future Research. Overall, Anglin et al. (2004) call for research to consider work on human cognition. Specifically, they see a need to study cognitive load theory in light of the theory of multiple representations. A key research question is whether or not multiple representations overload or support the development of schemas? Reflection 3 – Winn and Everett Overview Winn and Everett (1979) focus on the affective factors related to the use of color. While previous studies focused on cognitive aspects related to color, Winn and Everett conducted experiments to assess the subject’s perception of: 1) evaluation (good/bad; happy/sad; fair/unfair), 2) activity (fast/slow; hot/cold; restless/quiet), 3) potency (large/small, strong/weak, heavy/light), and 4) red / blue scale for color pictures. They also assessed the differences in these measures across age and gender of K12 school children. Research The study focused on public school children. 14 pictures were selected for use in the study from a batch of 572 based on the picture’s highly positive or negative appeal, the active or passive nature, a full range of color, as well as its realist to abstract properties. Based on the scale noted above, no significant difference occurred overall for evaluation or activity measures. However, significant differences appeared in the potency dimension, as well as the red-blue dimensions. Overall, black and white slides were more potent (perceived as large, strong, and heavy) than color slides which were rated redder suggesting to the researchers that “potency [a negative quality] is associated with the absence of warm colors”. Further, significant differences occurred for sex and grade level where younger subjects rated the slides better than older subjects, suggesting that older subjects were less affected by the colors. In addition, male ratings of color slides were better and more potent than females. Importance of Paper 3|Page Reflection Week 4 Submitted: June 5, 2008 By: Jennifer Maddrell For: Dr. Morrison, IDT 895 While the authors note the limitations associated with this study (due to a not completely random assignment and small sample size), the results seem to suggest that color impacts affective perceptions. In addition, these affective perceptions appear to vary on some dimensions based on age and sex. Further, the results indicate that unique qualities of the picture also determine how it is rated. Reflection 4 – Winn, Li, and Schill Overview Winn, Li, and Schill (1991) present finding from research conducted to explain why diagrams are effective in instruction when used either in conjunction with or when replacing text. Their research centered around two hypotheses: 1) that diagrams reduce the amount of search learners have to do when answering questions and 2) that diagrams reduce the amount of computation. Research and Results Prior findings. Winn et al. (1991) review prior research which suggests that a) objects near each on a page are often assumed to have common characteristics, b) diagrams can act as advance and post-organizers for text and can improve comprehension, and c) diagrams can help to teach relationships. They suggest that this effectiveness is due to a reduced amount of information the learner must process, the ease in finding information, and the reduction in the need to compute solutions. Further, they note how familiarity with terms and conventions can affect interpretations and encoding strategies. Results. Given these findings from prior research, Winn et al. (1991) conducted two experiments. Experiment 1 addressed how diagrams facilitate “search and computation in problem solving” and Experiment 2 addressed the impact of familiar materials. The results of the experiments suggest that diagrams that present relationships in spatial arrangements lead to more efficient problem solving. Further, learners who are able to apply previously known information about the to-be-learned content develop more efficient strategies than those not familiar with the content. Influence of Paper Heuristics for Designers. While the authors note that their findings are not generalizable outside of diagrams that communicate special relationships among concepts, the research suggests that diagrams offer a more efficient means of presenting information to learners. As such, instructional design heuristics include using diagrams over text when the to-be-learned information includes relationships among concepts. Further, diagrams should be considered for learners with familiarity with the material. Research Recommendations. The paper also provides recommendations for future research. Adding to the recommendations by Winn et al. (1979) and Winn (1982) noted above, suggested research includes studies to assess the effect of expertise on computation, as well as the relationship between mental models (schemas) and diagrams. 4|Page Reflection Week 4 Submitted: June 5, 2008 References By: Jennifer Maddrell For: Dr. Morrison, IDT 895 Anglin, G. J., Vaez, H., Cunningham, K. L. (2004). Visual representation and learning: The roles of static and animated graphics. In D. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology, 2nd Ed. Chapter 33, pp. 865-916 Winn, W. (1982). Visualization in learning and instruction: a cognitive approach. ETR&D, 30(1), 3-25. Winn, W. & Everett, R. J. (1979). Affective rating of color and black-and-white pictures. ECTJ,27(2), 148-156. Winn, W., Li, T., & Schill, D. (1991). Diagrams as aids to problem solving: Their role in facilitating search and computation. ETR&D, 39 (1), 17-29. 5|Page