Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Effects of Segmented-Animation in Projected Presentation Condition

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Effects of Segmented-Animation in Projected Presentation Condition

Article excerpt

Introduction

The utilization of animation is a key component of instructional courseware design nowadays. New advances in software technology have spurred the development of new means of conveying information in an animated form. Animation is defined as a series of rapidly changing computer screen displays that represent the illusion of movement (Mayer, 2001; Rieber & Hannafin, 1988). Specifically, instructional animation is defined as pictures in motion typically used to facilitate the instructional and learning (Lin, 2011). As such, animation has a potential role in supporting the visualization of a dynamic process, such as those not easily observable in real space and time scales, real processes that are practically impossible to realize in a learning situation, or a process that is not inherently visual (Betrancourt, 2005). Animation also plays a potential role in reducing the cognitive cost of mental simulation, thus saving cognitive resources for learning tasks; especially for novice learners or learners with poor imagery or spatial visualization capabilities (Betrancourt, 2005). In its best uses, animation presents information in a more interesting, easier to understand, and memorable way, than static media (Norton & Sprague, 2001; Rieber, 1990). However, even with these advantages and theoretical support, research findings related to the effectiveness of animation learning remain inconsistent (Lin & Dwyer, 2010; Ayres, Marcus, Chan & Qian, 2009; Ainsworth, 2008; Hegarty, 2004; Lin & Dwyer, 2004; Sperling, Seyedmonir, Aleksic & Meadows, 2003). The main reasons for inconsistencies may be attributed to design aspects (Tversky, Morrison & Betrancourt, 2002; Liu, Jones & Hemstreet, 1998) and learners' learning characteristics, such as their spatial visualization ability, learning style, motivation, prior knowledge, age, gender, and so on (Spanjers, van Gog & van Merrienboer, 2010; Mayer & Moreno, 2002; Chuang, 1999). There are dozens of models and theories on learning characteristics. However, this study only focuses on the spatial visualization aspects that are highly correlated with animation learning (van Oostendorp, Beijersbergen & Solaimani, 2008; Hegarty & Waller, 2005; Cornoldi & Vecche, 2003). It appears that current approaches to the design and use of animation can be ineffective due to the instructional designers' failure in addressing information processing challenges, posed by learners (Lowe, 2004). Therefore, approaches that lead to a reduction of these heavy cognitive processing needs are required especially to assist learners with poor imagery or spatial visualization ability (van Oostendorp, Beijersbergen & Solaimani, 2008).

Animation and cognition

The theoretical framework of this study was based on Mayer's Cognitive Theory and Sweller's Cognitive Load Theory. Mayer's Cognitive Theory (Mayer, 2001) explained that information is processed in human memory through two channels, namely the verbal channel and the visual channel, and through three cognitive processes. The first cognitive process involves the selection of verbal information to be processed in the verbal working memory and selecting the visual information to be processed in the visual working memory. The second cognitive process involves organizing the selected verbal information into a verbal mental model and organizing the selected visual information into a visual mental model. The final process involves integrating the verbal mental model and the visual mental model, developed with prior knowledge, to be stored in long-term memory. Successful learning occurs when learners are able to attend to important aspects of the presented material, mentally organize it into meaningful cognitive structure, and integrate it with relevant existing knowledge (Mayer & Moreno, 2003; 2002).

Sweller's Cognitive Load Theory (Sweller, 2002; 1994) described learning structures in terms of an information processing system involving long-term memory, which effectively stores all the information gained on a more-orless permanent basis, in schema form. …

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