Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Effects of WOE Presentation Types Used in Pre-Training on the Cognitive Load and Comprehension of Content in Animation-Based Learning Environments

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Effects of WOE Presentation Types Used in Pre-Training on the Cognitive Load and Comprehension of Content in Animation-Based Learning Environments

Article excerpt

Introduction

Animation is frequently used to enhance learners' acquisition of complex knowledge. Types of animation can be based on their level of motion: either static (e.g., illustrations and other depictions) or active (e.g., videos) (Mayer, 2002). In this study, the term "animation" refers to the presentation of material in a dynamic form, such as video content. Some researchers have reported that animation-based learning materials are more effective than static depictions (Hegarty & Kriz, 2008; Park & Gittelman, 1992), but others have disagreed (Hegarty, 2004; Tversky, Morrison, & Betrancourt, 2002). Animation-based learning experiences are sometimes ineffective because learners have difficulty managing and integrating visual learning content that is provided dynamically; because successive images often replace each other within seconds, learners may fail to notice important information (Mayer, 2008).

One way to overcome the difficulties involved in the use of animation-based learning materials is to provide pre- training in the basic content of the animations. Pre-training the learners in the key terms and the core learning content of animation-based materials is an important means of optimizing the cognitive load and making learning experiences more successful. In general, previous researchers have tended to use the cognitive-load theory (CLT) to investigate the effectiveness of pre-training based on worked-out examples (WOEs) and to identify productive types of pre-training (Lowe, 2008; Mayer, Mathais, & Wetzell, 2002). Some researchers have reported that providing WOEs could reduce the cognitive load (Clarke, Ayres, & Sweller, 2005; Renkl & Atkinson, 2003), whereas others have reported that it could increase the cognitive load due to the expertise reversal effect (Kalyuga, 2014; Kalyuga, Chandler, Tuovinen, & Sweller, 2001). To optimize multimedia-based learning, it is crucial to gain some experience of the learning method--through pre-training, for example--to reduce the cognitive load created by complex animation-based learning tasks. It is not easy to use animation effectively to deliver learning content and enhance learning. Therefore, animation used to present information must be carefully designed, with attention to the learner's cognitive load and information processing capacity, to ensure that the animation type optimizes the learning experience (Mayer, 2009).

Most previous studies of information presentation in multimedia learning have revealed the effects of animation-based information presentation (Yang, Andre, Greenbowe, & Tibell, 2003). In particular, the effectiveness of static graphics has been compared with that of animation (Hegarty & Kriz, 2008), and types of productive information presentation using animation have been explored. According to Ginns (2006), one effective instructional design recommendation based on CLT is an integrated format in which text is positioned next to the graphics to avoid dividing the learners' attention. Although empirical findings showed that an integrated format was superior to spatial separation of graphics, there is a slightly different perspective in which split-source formats increase the extraneous load and simultaneously increase the germane load (Cierniak, Scheiter, & Gerjets, 2009; Kester, Kirschner, & van Merrienboer, 2005). Although the types of effective information presentation could differ from that in multimedia learning to conduct pre-training, research was not sufficient to explore efficiently the effects of information presentation for pre-training. In addition, systematic exploration of the effects of using animated WOEs to pre-train learners is lacking. Cognitive load theorists have recommended the use of a multimedia design to reduce the extraneous cognitive load (Mousavi, Low, & Sweller, 1995). However, few efforts have explored the use of different types of animation-based information presentation to reduce the extraneous load and simultaneously increase the germane cognitive load (Atkinson, Mayer, & Merrill, 2005; Moreno & Mayer, 2004). …

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