Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Facilitating Learning from Animated Instruction: Effectiveness of Questions and Feedback as Attention-Directing Strategies

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Facilitating Learning from Animated Instruction: Effectiveness of Questions and Feedback as Attention-Directing Strategies

Article excerpt

Introduction

Recent technological advances have made possible individualized learning opportunities that integrate multiple ways of combining such media devices as audio, varied types of visuals, graphics, and sounds. There has been a long history of using visualization to complement textual material (Feaver, 1977; Slythe, 1970; Anglin, Vaez, & Cunningham, 2004). Research findings have generally supported the proposition that human beings remember pictures better than words (Anglin et al., 2004). Human memory is composed of two interdependent types of memory mode to process and store information--the verbal and nonverbal modes. Paivio (1990) has indicated that the dual coding of pictures both in its verbal and nonverbal forms is more likely to occur than words, which are more likely to be encoded verbally only. This hypothesis is presented to explain the superior effect of pictures to words when used in instruction.

Animation has been used in various disciplines to deliver instructional material that is hard to present alone using static visuals or that contains content that is highly abstract or invisible to human eyes. Animation, presented as pictures in motion, is analogous to a subset of visual graphics (Weiss, Knowlton, & Morrison, 2002). In a computer-based instructional (CBI) environment, animation is typically used due to its inherent characteristics that facilitate the instructional and learning processes. Animation also has the potential to provide feedback in various forms that may be both entertaining and motivating to learners striving for the correct response.

Different types of questions or questioning strategies can be used to engage learners in deeper cognitive information processing and therefore enhance their learning. King (1992) indicated that having students ask and answer high-level questions facilitates their comprehension of the text material by engaging them in tasks such as "... focusing attention, organizing the new material, and integrating the new information with existing knowledge" (p. 304).

The importance of feedback in the learning process has long been recognized, and feedback has been a variable of interest in educational research. During a learning process, feedback generally plays a role as a motivator or incentive to encourage accurate performance or as an information confirmer that learners can use to judge the correctness of a previous response. In terms of its purpose, feedback has both reinforcing and informational attributes. It is believed that letting learners know how well they are performing a task and that giving them the opportunity to monitor or assess their learning progress can result in a better learning effect (Kulhavy & Wager, 1993).

Dynamic visualized materials created in an interactive learning environment always depend on "learners' actions" and "... active learner engaged processing of learning materials ..." (Kalyga, 2007, p. 387). Cognitive load theory (CLT) originated in the 1980s, heavily relies upon theories drawn from cognitive architecture and the memory system of human beings. It provides instructional designers with theory-based guidelines for designing instructional materials. Researchers conducting studies on effectiveness of animation or simulation-based instruction recognized and discussed their findings mostly from a cognitive load perspective, especially when the cognitive load was associated with the level of interactivity of learners engaged in the learning process (Paas, Van Gerven, & Wouters, 2007; de Koning, Tabbers, Rikers, & Paas., 2007; Moreno, 2007; Lusk & Atkinson, 2007). These studies have used this framework to establish the conditions and methods for enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of animated instruction (Kalyga, 2007). Major findings of animated instruction design employing a cognitive load approach included examinations of the learner differences and design principles to optimize the effect of animated instruction. …

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