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Using Cognitive Load Theory to Develop Animations and Simulations: The Road Partly Traveled . Catherine Milne, Teaching and Learning; Trace Jordan, College of Arts and Science; Jan Plass, Administration, Leadership and Technology; Bruce Homer, Applied Psychology;

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using cognitive load theory to develop animations and simulations the road partly traveled

Using Cognitive Load Theory to Develop Animations and Simulations: The Road Partly Traveled

Catherine Milne, Teaching and Learning;

Trace Jordan, College of Arts and Science;

Jan Plass, Administration, Leadership and Technology;

Bruce Homer, Applied Psychology;

Slava Kalyuga, Juan Barrientos, Reneta Lansiquot

New York University

goals
Goals
  • To design, develop and evaluate animations and simulations that support the learning of chemistry amongst students with little prior experience of chemistry.
  • To test the effectiveness of our simulations in functioning high school chemistry classrooms.
  • To integrate simulations into chemistry curricula.
how to design these animations simulations
How to Design these Animations/Simulations?
  • The Learner - interactivity/agency
  • Cognitive elements - the demands of the content and the learner
  • Design elements - impact of design elements on instrumental effectiveness is not well studied
  • Chemistry education
1 0 interactivity agency
1.0 Interactivity/Agency
  • Simulations offer learner control. The learner can test a theory (manipulate variables) using wonder/predictions by asking questions such as, “What if. . ?” “How. . ?”
  • Animations are controlled by the developer and provide frames that illustrate movement.
2 0 cognitive elements
2.0 Cognitive Elements

2.1 Research indicates the existence of three forms of memory -

  • Sensory memory - information buffer for our senses, only small part is processed in WM
  • Working memory - processing of information; associated with consciousness; limited capacity, once exceeded learning is impacted negatively
  • Long term memory - knowledge is stored in long term memory in schemas (hierarchical information networks). Evidence of people’s schemas comes from their practices.
2 3 demands of content and learner
2.3 Demands of Content and Learner

Cognitive Load, amount of mental effort required to learn, affects working memory

  • Intrinsic
    • Difficulty of content, process, practice to be learned
    • Cannot be modified by instructional design
  • Extraneous
    • Depends on design of instructional materials used to present information to learners and on learning tasks
  • Germane
    • Learner’s mental efforts to understand

Our design goal: to reduce cognitive load by optimizing germane load and reducing extraneous load

2 4 split attention effects
2.4 Split Attention Effects
  • Learners do not perceive diagrams and text simultaneously and learners are forced mentally to switch backwards and forwards between the two
  • Extraneous load
  • Affects multimedia design
    • Use diagrams and narrated text because learners use different working memory
    • But diagrams cannot be too complex or this design change will not have any effect
3 0 design elements
3.0 Design Elements
  • For learners iconic representations reduce cognitive load vs. symbolic
3 1 design decisions made
3.1 Design Decisions Made
  • Sliders used to show external variables
  • Consistency in positioning of the sliders (under diagram of phenomenon)
  • Use of two dimensional particles so learners do not need to account for perspective
  • Consistency in use of symbols for various processes/information
  • Use single circles to represent particles
4 0 chemistry education
4.0 Chemistry Education
  • How should we connect macroscopic phenomena and submicroscopic explanations?
  • How do we need to structure our animations/simulations to ensure that we do not teach ‘misconceptions’?
  • Should our animations/simulations begin with theory/models or ‘real world’ examples?
testing our model
Testing our Model
  • Usability Trials
  • Cognitive Load Trials
  • Pilot Study in Schools
  • Experiment in Schools
  • Development of simulations/animations in other content areas
the challenges ahead on the road partly traveled
The Challenges Ahead on the Road Partly Traveled
  • Further development of simulations
  • Experimental testing of new simulations
  • Integration of multimedia simulations into chemistry curricula and into the classroom practices of teachers
acknowledgements
Acknowledgements
  • Paola Gaudalupe, Laura Lanwermeyer, J. Reid Schwabeck, Oscar Stephenson, Jim Ma
  • IES Grant: R305K05014