Message Design: Reading Reflection W7

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Reflection Week 7 Submitted: June 21, 2008 Reflection – Mayer and Moreno By: Jennifer Maddrell For: Dr. Morrison, IDT 895 Overview Mayer and Moreno (2003) suggest in a theory of multimedia learning that includes five essential cognitive processes to facilitate learning. These processes include 1) selecting words from auditory sensation coming from the ears, 2) selecting images from visual sensations coming from the eyes, 3) organizing words includes the construction of verbal representations coming from words, 4) organizing images includes the construction of pictorial representations coming from images, and 5) integrating the verbal and pictorial representations with prior knowledge. They offer definitions of key terminology and methods to overcome five types of cognitive overload. The following definitions are offered within the paper: Multimedia learning. Learning from words (printed or spoken) and pictures (static or dynamic). Meaningful learning. Attending to material, organizing it, and integrating it into existing knowledge. Essential processing. Refers to what is known as germane load in cognitive load theory (CLT). It includes the processing required to create meaning from the material. Incidental processing. Refers to what is known as extraneous load in CLT. It includes the processing required for nonessential material. Representational holding. The processing required to hold mental representations in working memory which is similar to intrinsic load in CLT. Cognitive Overload – Five Types and Methods to Overcome Essential processing demands (visual). When the visual channel is overloaded, moving some content to auditory presentation may assist in processing. This is known as a modality effect. Essential processing demands (auditory and visual). While both the auditory and visual channels are overloaded, segmenting content or providing pretraining of some component content may assist in processing. This is known as a segmentation effect. Essential and incidental processing of extraneous material. Both auditory and visual channels may be overloaded by a combination of both essential and incidental processing. Eliminating extraneous material (to avoid the coherence effect) or cuing the learner for how to process the information (to avoid the signaling effect) may reduce this overload. Essential and incidental processing of confusing presentation. Both auditory and visual channels may be overloaded by a combination of both essential and incidental processing due to confusing presentation. Aligning printed words near graphics (to avoid the spatial contiguity effect) or avoiding the same streams of both printed and spoken words (to avoid the redundancy effect) may reduce this overload. Essential processing and representational holding. Both auditory and visual channels may be overloaded by a combination of both essential and representational holding. Presenting narration and animation together (to avoid the temporal contiguity effect) or ensuring learners have prerequisite skills (to avoid the spatial ability effect) may reduce this overload. 1|Page Reflection Week 7 Submitted: June 21, 2008 By: Jennifer Maddrell For: Dr. Morrison, IDT 895 Importance of Paper This paper brings together the prior readings regarding cognitive load theory and relates it directly to multimedia design. In turn, specific heuristics are presented to designers to avoid cognitive overload. By summarizing years of research, Moreno and Mayer are able to suggest concise narrated animation as a means of avoiding cognitive overload. Further, the paper suggests a theory of multimedia learning which will further the study of cognitive load as it relates to multimedia learning. As noted by the authors, this could include research regarding how to assess cognitive load for experienced learners, measure demands of instructional materials, gauge available cognitive resources, and examine the linkage of these findings to longer and more complex online learning programs. Reflection – Moore, Burton, Myers Overview WOW! Moore, Burton, Myers (2004) provide a wide ranging review of theories and research related to multiple-channel communication. It is a great reading to summarize many of the papers we have read over the semester. Like the focus of this course, the paper addressed the acquisition, encoding, retrieval, and learner’s use of instructional messages, but centers the discussion on multiple-channel communication. Can learners accommodate simultaneous audio and visual stimuli? In what amount? In what type? These key questions are raised in the paper and research findings to answer them are highlighted. The following highlights some of the key take-a-way definitions, concepts, heuristics, and areas for future research that augment prior readings. Take-a-ways Multimedia. Moore et al. assess the multiple interpretations of this often used term. Some consider it the use of several media devices together, while others stress interactive systems. The authors limit their definition to “systems that include two forms of motion, voice, data, text, graphics, and still images.” Single versus multi-channel communication. While some suggest that information processing by one sense impedes the processing through other senses (Hernadez-Peon effect), others find that only small amounts can be processed simultaneously and that learners facing multi-channel presentations must switch from one channel to the next. These and other observations provide support to cognitive load theory discussed throughout this semester and to beliefs in the efficacy of single channel presentation. As cited in the paper, Hsia found from a review of literature that multiple channels are used until overloaded then processing focuses on a single channel. Further, increasing the amount of information does not increase rate of transmission. In other words, it does little good to hit them with everything and the kitchen sink. However, there is a contrasting body of research supporting context rich learning environments based on the premise that learning is increased as the cue and stimuli are increased. Multimedia research. Moore et al. note the multiple conceptions of multimedia and the commonly accepted definition of computer driven interactivity where the leaner can control and 2|Page Reflection Week 7 Submitted: June 21, 2008 By: Jennifer Maddrell For: Dr. Morrison, IDT 895 sequence content. Therefore, learners can not only see or hear, but also “do” something with the instructional media. They note research which supports methods founded in the creation of complex and exploratory learning environments which provide learners with multiple perspectives that help them to integrate information into existing knowledge. Interactive features. Most notably for those working with the latest educational technologies, Moore et al. highlight the lack of research concentrating on the interactive features leaving practitioners and researchers with a “less than adequate research base.” Importance of Paper As noted, this paper reviews an incredible array of research relating to multi-channel instructional communication. While much of the research is contradictory, Moore et al. point out the contractions, as well as the parallels across decades of research. Unfortunately, they note that designers searching for “simple rationale, method or guideline for effective multimedia (multiple-channel) … will be disappointed in the relevant research.” Reflection – Lee, Plass, and Homer Overview The research question assessed by Lee, Plass, and Homer (2006) is how can cognitive load in visual computer simulations be optimized? In other words, how can intrinsic and generative load be managed while extraneous load is decreased? Working under the cognitive theory of multimedia learning and cognitive load theory, they investigated the visual complexity of computer simulations. Research Focus. Lee et al. defines computer simulations as interactive software programs which have a relatively high level of complexity. As noted in past research, high complexity causes high cognitive load. Therefore, designers must consider this and reduce any unnecessary load. However, Lee et al. note that very little research had been done on the high complexity in visual displays in simulations. As such, the goal of this research was to not only assess methods to control cognitive load, but to also examine how prior knowledge affects effectiveness of the chosen method. The study focused on methods to reduce the complexity (intrinsic cognitive load) without reducing content, as well as methods to reduce extraneous cognitive load. Hypothesis. Lee et al. predicted that cognitive load reducing methods (many reviewed here during the semester) would make the simulations more effective, especially for learners with low prior knowledge. Therefore, their hypothesis was that methods to reduce either intrinsic or extraneous cognitive load would enhance learning. Further, the differences were expected to be stronger for low prior knowledge learners than for high. Method and findings. Seventh grade participants viewed either an optimized or nonoptimized design simulation. No students had prior knowledge of the subject matter. Scores for comprehension and transfer were measured. On comprehension and transfer measures, they found better results with visual simulations where the content was separated into two screens rather than one. However, learners with higher prior knowledge benefited more than those who 3|Page Reflection Week 7 Submitted: June 21, 2008 By: Jennifer Maddrell For: Dr. Morrison, IDT 895 did not have prior knowledge. In contrast, the low prior knowledge learners performed best in the low complexity condition. This expert reversal effect was also seen when adjusting iconic and symbolic representations and controls for learners which demonstrated the ability to manipulate extraneous load and create conditions which improved comprehension and transfer. Importance of this Paper Heuristics for Designers. The findings offer designers suggestions for the design of visual simulations. Most significantly, designers should consider segmenting content delivery, as well as the learners’ prior knowledge of the subject matter as they attempt to achieve high comprehension and transfer with low extraneous cognitive load. For Researchers. As noted by the authors, the findings support the cognitive theory of multimedia learning and cognitive load theory. The research extends prior research related to visual materials (reversal effect), but also suggest that a) it may be possible to manipulate the intrinsic cognitive load to in turn manipulate extraneous load and b) the use of either iconic or symbolic representation of information may reduce extraneous load which prior research would suggest is redundant. 4|Page Reflection Week 7 Submitted: June 21, 2008 References By: Jennifer Maddrell For: Dr. Morrison, IDT 895 Lee, H., Plass, J., & Homer, B. (2006). Optimizing Cognitive Load for Learning from ComputerBased Science Simulations. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(4), 902-913. Mayer, R. E., & Moreno, R. (2003). Nine ways to reduce cognitive load in multimedia learning. Educational Psychologist, 38, 43–52. Moore, D. M., Burton, J. K., & Myers, R. J. (2004). Multiple channel communication: The theoretical and research foundations of multimedia. In D. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology, 2nd Ed. Chapter 36, pp. 9791005 5|Page