e-Learning and the Science of Instruction

e-Learning and the Science of Instruction - Clark and Meyer, 2008

13 - 60 billion spent in U.S. per year on training
21 - Regardless of the delivery medium, it's the instructional methods and strategies which have the greatest impacts on learning. The better the instructional methods the better the learning, regardless of the delivery medium.
21 - Each delivery medium offers unique opportunities to deliver instructional methods that other media connot. The unique capacities of each medium need to be leveraged to maximize learning.

36 - Five principles of cognitive processing:
i) Dual Channel - separate channels for processing stimuli
ii) Limited capacity - people can only process a few pieces of data from each channel simultaneously; managing limited cognitive resources during learning is key. Good design and engaging learning environments are ones that minimize extraneous cognitive processing, manage essential processing and foster generative processing:
a) extraneous processing - cognitive processing that does not support the instructional objectives
b) essential processing - cognitive processes that are necessary to process the stimuli
c) generative processing - cognitive processes aimed at deep understandings
38 - Methods for directing important information to the conscious level - the brain is bombarded by hundreds of millions of stimuli every second and it automatically filters most of it. The cognitive processing capacities are limited and the brain's filter directs only discreet bits to the conscious level. Instructional methods may be chosen to grab the learner's attention.
38 - Cognitive Load - Methods for Managing Limited Capacity in Working Memory - the burden imposed on working memory in the form of information that must be held plus information that must be processed. Methods which reduce cognitive load foster learning.
39 - Methods for Integration - maximizing methods for integrating methods or presenting information to reduce cognitive load will enhance learning. e.g.; text and images should be placed beside each other.
41 - Methods for retrieval and transfer - constructed knowledge must be encoded into long-term memory in ways that allow them to be easily retrieved.

53 - Applying the Multimedia Principle
56 - Cognitive theory and research evidence suggests that words and graphics are more effective than words alone - because learners can mentally represent the material in words and pictures
58 - not all graphics are helpful - such as decorative and representational
58 - Focus on graphics that assist the learner like:
  • tranformational - illustrate changes in time or over space - e.g.: video how volcano erupts; time-lapse of a seed germination
  • interpretive - make intangible phenomena visible and concrete - e.g.; molecular structures
  • organizational - show qualitative relationships among content - e.g.: concept map; tree diagram; matrix
  • relational - summarize quantitative relationships - e.g.: bar graph; map with circles to indicate size and number of earthquakes
65 - instructors must guide learning the learner's cognitive processing to actively process information
65 - active processing is enhanced by mentally contructing pictorial and verbal representations - multimedia enriches active processing
66 - research has confirmed that learning is augmented through multimedia versus words alone - effect sizes as high as 1.50! Effect sizes of 0.80 are considered significant. This is called the 'Multimedia Effect'.
69 - Multimedia works best for novices -
69 - Expertise reversal effect - instructional supports that assist low-knowledge learners may not help, and may even hurt, high-knowledge learners
70 - there is no evidence that suggests that animations are more effective than a series of static frames
71 - animations may be more effective when revealing relationships not otherwise visible with static images, or when the user can control the speed, viewpoints, time-lapse, etc - effects which cannot be displayed in a static graphic.

77 - Applying the Contiguity Principle
77 - Contiguity Principle - align words to corresponding graphics - evidence that there are learning gains when the text and graphics are presented in an integrated fashion compared to the same information presented separately
78 - less cognitive load when the user/learner does not need to search to parts of a graphic and the corresponding words
78- embed printed words near the graphics they describe - use tool tips when there is too much text
81 - common violations:
  • in a scrolling window, graphics and text are separated - partially obscured because of scrolling screens
  • feedback is displayed on a separate screen from the practice or question
  • printed text in one window and graphics on a separate
  • directions to comlete a task exist on a separate window
  • all text is displayed at the bottom of the screen away from graphics
  • key elements in a graphic are numbered and a legend is used to describe each numbered element
86 - Synchronize spoken words with corresponding graphics, animations, and/or videos
89 - separating words and pictures is not an accurate understanding of how people learn - humans are sense-makers who see the relations between words and pictures -
89 - when words and pictures are separated, learners must use scare cognitive resources to match them up - called extraneous processing - cognitive processing unrelated to the instructional goal
89 - when words and pictures are integrated, learners hold them in their working memory to make meaningful connections between them
89 - when separated, the limited capacity of working memory is taxed - leading to cognitive overload - also called split attention - avoid split attention because it forces the learner to waste precious cognitive processing
90 - research for presenting printed words near corresponding graphics reveal effect size of 1.12
93 - research for presenting spoken words at the same time as corresponding graphics reveal effect size of 1.30
94 - What we don't know about the contiguity principle:
  • how much detail should be in the graphics and in the words?
  • when is it better to use printed words vs. spoken words?
  • How does the conversational style of the words affect learning?
  • How do characteristics of the voice affect learning with spoken words?

99 - Applying the Modality Principle
99 - Modality Principle: Present Words as Audio Narration rather than Text - has the most research support of any other principle
99 - evidence that presenting words in audio rather than text results in considerable learning gains
100 - leveraging two separate cognitive channels - words in auditory channel and pictures in the visual channel - to increase learning gains
101 - Present words as speech, rather than on-screen text
102 - presenting words as text along with images may result in cognitive overload because only one channel is utilized - eyes can only really focus on either the text or images but not both simultaneously effectively
104 - words should remain for the learner for memory support -e.g.: key words, mathematical formulas, directions to a practice exercise
105 - multimedia learning should align with how people learn and cognitive learning theory
105 - people have separate processing channels for visul/pictorial and auditory/verbal processing - text and graphics only engages, and may overload, the visual channel - the capacity of each channel is limited
106 - visual channel is overloaded because if the eyes are focused on the visual, they are not focused on the text and vice versa
106 - load may be reduced by engaging the auditory channel by narrating the text
106 - narrating text with visuals reduces load on both channels and both are processed simultaneously
107 - significant evidence and research to support the use of narrated text over printed text - with effect sizes of greater than 1!
111 - 21 published articles supporting the modality effect - Mayer 2005 - students performed better on solving transfer problems - median effect size .97!
112 - Ginns 2005 - 43 experimental tests supporting modality principle - average effect size of .72
112 - the modality principle is stronger for more complex materials than less complex and for computer-controlled pacing rather than user-controlled
112 - modality principle works best when the material is complex and presented in a rapid, continuous pace without user-control
112- if the material is famaliar and the learner has control over the pacing, the modality effect is less crucial
113 - When to use text:
  • when presenting technical terms
  • when learner is not native speaker
  • when learner is extremely unfamaliar with the material
  • when there is no corresponding to graphic or image
  • when individuals learn best with graphics and text - redundancy principle
113 - What we don't know about modality:
  • when is it helpful to put printed words on the screen with a concurrent graphic?
  • Is it helpful to put concise summaries or labels for key components on the screen as printed words?
  • When it is not feasible to provide audio, how can we eliminate any negative effects of on-screen text?
  • Do the negative effects of on-screen text decline over the course of long-term training?

117 - Applying the Redundancy Principle
117 - Redundancy Principle - graphics using words in both on-screen text and audio narration in which the audio repeats the text
117 - research suggests to not add printed text to a narrated graphic
119 - Redudancy Principle 1
119 - Do not add on-screen text to narrated graphics because learners may experience cognitive overload if too much attention is paid to the text and not enough to the graphics, especially if the text is identical to the narration
121 - learning style hypothesis - instruction is flexible enough to support different learning styles - this belief is based upon the information acquisition theory of multimedia learning - therefore, including text and audio is preferable to audio alone
121 - multimedia learning is based upon the assumption that:
  • all people have separate channels for processing verbal and pictorial material
  • each channel is limited in the amount of processing that can take place at one time
  • learning atively attempt to build pictorial and verbal models from the presented material and build connections between them
  • these principles are consistent with research in cognitive science and a view of how people learn
122 - providing redundant on-screen text may overload the visual channel - the limited cognitive resources in the visual channel must be shared between the graphics/animations/pictures and the on-screen text
122 - if pace is fast and learners are unfamaliar with the material, they may experience cognitive overload and content may not be organized into a mental representation
123 - extraneous cognitive processing - learners may use limited cognitive resources comparing the printed words with the spoken words as they are presented and this may inhibit cognitive processing and meaning making
123 - research to support this assertion - size effects greater than 1!
124 - adding redundant on-screen text to narrated graphics tends to hurt learning
125 - Redundancy Principle 2 - Add On-Screen Text to Narration in Special Situations
  • when there is no pictorial presentation - e.g.: no animation, video, photos, graphics, illustrations
  • when there is ample opportunity to process the pictorial presentation - e.g.: when pace of presentation is sufficiently slow or under user control or when the text and graphic/animation are sequenced not simultaneously presented
  • when the learner must exert much greater cognitive effort to comprehend spoken text than printed text
128 - generally, do not add redundant on-screen text (same words as are being spoken) because attending to text may distract from the animation or graphic - however, there are exceptions
128 - What we do not know about redundancy:
  • does redundancy help or hinder non-native speakers or learners with very low prior knowledge?
  • does redundancy help or hinder when the on-screen text is technical terms, equations, or brief headings?
  • does redundancy help or hinder when the presentation pace is under learner control, is slow, when the narration proceedes the on-screen text?

133 - Applying the Coherence Principle - Adding Interesting Material Can Hurt Learning
133 - Coherence Principle - avoid adding any material that does not suport the instructional goal
135 - Coherence Principle 1 - Avoid Extraneous Audio
136 - background music and sounds may overload working memory, so they are most dangerous in situations in which the learner may experience heavy cognitive load - e.g.: when material is unfamiliar, material presented at a rapid rate, rate of presentation is not under learner control.
138 - arousal theory - entertaining and interesting embedded effectgs cause learners to become more emotionally aroused and therefore they work harder to learn the material - an assumption that emotion affects cognition
138 - extraneous sounds will compete for limited cognitive resources in the auditory channel
138 - 140 - significant research to support this assertion - learning is better when sounds and music are excluded
140 - Coherence Principle 2 - Avoid Extraneous Graphics