I’v been thinking about all the different terms related to the Mayer & Moreno article, so I decided to make a short summary to help me remember all the new information.

Essential processing; cognitive processes that are required for making sense of the presented material such as; organising words and images.

Incidental processing; the cognitive processes that are not required for making sense sense of the presented material, such as; adding background music-distracting-the learner uses the limited cognitive capacity for processing this instead of the important material.

Representational holding; the cognitive process aimed at holding a mental representation in working memory over a period of time such as; using several windows but only one window can be open at the same time.

Problems

Split attention; the learners visual attention is split between viewing e.g an animation and reading the text, they can’t concentrate and process both.

Not enough time; if the information content is rich and the pace of presentation is fast, this cuts the time needed for deeper processing. Solution; Segmenting- allows time between segments of the presentation-learner controlled segments.

Eliminate interesting but extra material

Aligning words & pictures; present information in one window with the con-current text in the same or in one close, keep both close to each other.

Reduntant represenatation; when the words are presented both as an animation and simultaneously as on screen text.

 

 
 

 

C.R.A.P

The C.R.A.P principles relate to design and stand for: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity. Applying the principles makes the information in a document easier for a peoples brains to process.

Contrast stands for the idea to avoid elements on the page who are similar such as; type, colour, size, thickness, shape etc. Contrast is often the most important visual attraction on a page, elements that are not the same should be very different so that they stand out.

Repetition is the repetition of certain elements in the design/web page in order to create familiarity, understanding and retention. Repetition could be embedded using a certain bullet point, colour, shape, headings or a particular format and relates to everything that the viewer may visually recognise. Repeat styles down the page for a cohesive feel.

Alignment how the text and images are placed on a page, to the left, center or to the right. All of these elements should be visually connected, nothing should be out of place or distinct from all other design elements.

Proximity creates related meaning and makes sure that all the related elements or parts of a page are grouped together and close to each other. Consequently, all elements which are not related to each other should be separated from each to clearly communicate that they are different.

Cognitive overload

In class this week we discussed the article by Mayer and Moreno; Nine Ways to Reduce Cognitive Load in Multimedia Learning. Among other topics, the article examines the concept of cognitive overload which is defined as a situation when the learner’s intended cognitive processing exceeds the learner’s available cognitive capacity. After reading the article, I realised that I still couldn’t fully grasp and understand the concept so I googled it to try to find more explanations.

I found this really good website called; the Cognitive Overload Site , the site offers tutorials and instructional strategies aimed for instructional designers and trainers to gain better understanding of cognitive overload, how to identify it and how to avoid it.

The first tutorial is about the Human Information Processing, cognitive overload is here defined as; when the working memory can no longer process information in the quantities or at the speed in which it is being presented. Cognitive overload is also referred to as the “fried brain syndrome”.

The second tutorial focuses on Cognitive Overload Indicators which can be; body language, frustration and increased error rates. Learners who are experiencing cognitive overload feel overwhelmed will often not be the ones who ask all the questions because they are afraid to ask dumb questions, therefore it is important to always review the instructional design that is being used.

The final tutorial discusses different instructional strategies to use to effectively manage cognitive overload;

  • Define job essential knowledge and skills-focus on the training of the need-to-know information.
  • Practice– to help transfer the information from the working memory to the long-term memory; practice and repeat frequently.
  • Provide student notes– if less time is pent on taking notes, more time can be spent on practical activities.
  • Chunk the Instruction-chunk the content into 5-7 pieces, this is the amount of information that the working memory can remember and process at the same time without becoming overloaded.

 When designing online instruction the tutorial recommends using the “Keep It Simple” (KIS) principle and the use of these strategies;

  • Use plenty of white space
  • Design easy to use, consistent navigation
  • Limit the amount material on the screen
  • Integrate graphics and audio

I will keep all the strategies and advice in mind for the final assignment = )

 

Websites

I received a newsletter the other day introducing new and cool website. One of them is Snappyfingers, SnappyFingers is a question/answer search engine who has been recently launched. If you have a specific question, type it in and SnappyFingers will trawl through its own index of millions of FAQ-type resources to find the most relevant answer for you.

Because this is a rather new website, their so called “crawlers”are continuously searching the Internet looking for more questions and answers, so there will be improvements and increase in their question/answer bank the coming weeks and months.

The other one is Ask a Philosopher, this website was launched in 1999 and has answered thousands of philosophical questions submitted by readers around the world. You can browse their extensive catalogue of previously submitted questions (and their answers), or submit your own question, and have it answered by the International Society for Philosophers. The site is offered as a courtesy of Pathways to Philosophy which is an independent distance learning project run by the International Society for Philosophers.

Advanced Organisers

The Cognitive approach to learning focuses on the role of experience, meaning and the use of problem-solving as the sources of learning. Learning is the re-organisation of these experiences into meanungful patterns that lead to problem solving and also analysing skills.

 

Meaningfulness relates to our brains searching for patterns and association, allowing us to be more creative and problem solving. Each person creates their own individual meaning based on current context and theit past experiences, one of the methods to achieve this meaning is with the help of Advanced organisers which provide a more cognitive structure. This structure helps the learner to connect what they already know with what they need to know, helping the material to become more meaningful.

 

I found an article by Merv Stapleton on a webbsite called ELM Matters, the article talks about the use of Advanced organisers in an e-learning context. According to Ausubel, we need a context in which to place information if we are to make sense of it. Making sense of information, i.e. understanding it, is a key process in effective learning.

 

One way of providing context for information is to provide it with a title which acts as an advanced organiser, the title cues up the learners pre-existing knowledge, memories, feelings and so on providing a framework to which the new information can be related and understood.

 

Stapleton gives 2 examples and recommendations on how to insert advance organisers into Blackboard course sites;

 

1. Provide every folder with a specific and relevant title- by adding a description to the folder/files you are using, a few sentences describing the content will increase the context of the information that the student are about to access.

 

2. Use images to improve recall- the use of images can also act as an advanced organiser. In addition to making the sites more appealing, the images also help the learners to place the information they are about to access into contexts.

 

At first, I found it difficult to think of how to use Advanced organiser in e-learning contexts, after reading the article by Stapleton I finally understand the full meaning of what an Advanced organiser really is or could be. This will help me to think of how to use them in the future.

 

 

Behaviourism

Yesterday I read about the Behaviorist theory which focuses on learning from a more scientific pespective. Behaviourists explain human behaviour in terms of cause and effect, learning is the process of changing peoples behaviour and is demonstrated in the response or behaviour of the learner.

The educator in this context sets the goals  and shapes the bahaviour, the learner is active in the learning activities but the educator is the one who shapes the behaviour. Although behaviourism is now considered too old fashioned and no longer used in academic environments, however there are still some aspects of the theory left to be seen in forms of different kinds of incentives such as; grades and other kinds of economic incentives.

In the activity guide we are asked to watch this video from the Wharton University of Pennsylvania:

http://www.learningwiki.com/theory where Behaviourism is explained. I found this video very interesting to watch because it introduced me to new and deeper concepts and ideas of the Behaviourist theory, which I had never heard of before.

The video talks about Skinner who argued that people are selfish- we do things to satisfy ourselves (to make us feel better) and that will give us a better; more money, a promotion, success and so on. Therefore; our behaviour and behavioural changes are all motivated by our selfishness. Skinner also argued that humans are just complicated animals, not better than any other living organism on this planet, we are all driven by our instinct to survive.
Greed according to the behaviourist theory is good, since it motivates us to change our behaviour and better ourselves.

No classes

I have had this (and next week) off from uni so I’v just been relaxing….I forgot to ask Matt if we have to write on our blog during the 2 weeks off or not…..I don’t remember him saying anything about it either, it’s hard to find anything to write about without having attended any classes though.

Tomorrow I’m going start catching up on some reading for my Management subject and for this one (e-learning design).

m-Learning presentation

As I have mentioned before, my e-learning design group had to research and analyse the topic m-Learning. Besides the Wiki page we also had to present our topic and findings to the rest of the class. I’v created a slideshare account to be able to upload the presentation into this blog. After several attempts…and some help…I finally figured out how to do it = )

View more presentations from karenPL.

Skype

On Tuesday one of the groups in my class talked about Skype used in distance learning, Skype is an Internet Telephone system based on a software that offers free calls between users. You can also purchase Skype credit and make calls to regular/mobile phones, make video calls, send sms and for instant messaging (chat) between computers. I personally use Skype regularly to keep in touch with my family who all live overseas.

In distance learning, Skype can be used to send files during the lesson, as well as using the text-based chat facility during the e-lesson making it a perfect platform for affordable online learning. Using voice chat is a better alternative to just chatting in a chat room or via Instant Message. With voice chat, you get to work on your pronunciation (if you are learning a new language) , it’s easier and more effective to be able to talk as well as listen.

 

Action in e-Learning Design

I recently read a post on the Breakthrough eLerarning blog called; Focus on Action in eLearning Design. Rick Nigol talks about one of biggest challenges that he faces when designing eLearning content, which is to get to the essence of a training challenge and cut out all extra content that detracts from the main learning objectives. In other words; less is more when designing eLearning and one of the most important questions to remember is; how can we get from A to B in a short and straight line?

Nigol also talks about a technique called “action mapping” that can be used to help focus eLearning on intended outcomes and desired actions.

Cathy Moore explains this technique in more detail in her blog Ideas for Lively eLearning. Moore focuses on an approach to eLearning design that works backward from the intended business goal (expressed as an action). By doing this, designers can avoid linear information content dump and piling up irrelevant information that does not really help learners get to the desired goal. Action mapping is described as a four-step process;

1. Identify the business goal.

2. Identify what people need to do to reach that goal.

3. Design activities that help people practice each behaviour.

4. Identify the minimum information people need to complete each activity.

I found this post very helpful to read, since some of the feedback on our presentation was too much information on the PowerPoint slides, I think the Action mapping steps can be used in other contexts other than eLearning design, I’ll keep the steps in mind for future presentations and also when writing and modifying our groups and my individual Wiki page.