Keywords and ideas
- E-learning theory → using multimedia to enhance learning;
- Multimedia → using more than one way of communication e.g. text and audio;
- Cognitive load → the amount of working memory resources used;
- Three types of cognitive load → extraneous, intrinsic, germane;
- Personalization principle → presenting text that is imaginable in first-person e.g. Einstein imagining himself as a light beam;
- Autism and high extraneous cognitive load.
The e-learning theory describes how using multimedia enhances learning e.g. a combination of text, audio, and graphics. The e-learning theory further rests on the idea of cognitive load, namely how making use of multimedia reduces cognitive load, and therefore enhances learning. I will attempt to make a summary here of what I have learned the recent week.
Reducing cognitive load to enhance learning
So first of all, there are three main types of cognitive load: extraneous, intrinsic, and germane:
- Extraneous cognitive load is the amount of working memory resources used to process irrelevant stimuli i.e. distractions;
- Intrinsic cognitive load is the amount of working memory resources used to process the task itself e.g. solving a math problem;
- German cognitive load is the amount of working memory resources used to access long-term knowledge as well as creating long-term knowledge e.g. creating first principles.
Each type of cognitive load can be reduced by the following examples:
- Extraneous cognitive load can be reduced through removing irrelevant stimuli:
I. Removing distracting sounds like your phone;
II. Worked-out examples;
III. Isolating elements;
IV. Integrated examples and avoiding split-attention examples, etc.
These things follow the coherence principle.
- Intrinsic cognitive load can be reduced by splitting the task into smaller parts, each part requiring a smaller intrinsic cognitive load to be processed. This can be done through:
I. Worked-out examples;
II. Incremental learning;
III. Isolating elements;
IV. Integrated examples;
V. The signalling principle (e.g. making keywords bold), etc.
These things follow the segmenting principle.
- Germane cognitive load can be reduced by making the principles, fundamentals, and ideas more clear. This can be done effectively through:
I. Multimedia (combining text with images);
II. The signalling principle (e.g. making keywords bold);
III.. Inductive reasoning (putting the puzzle pieces together);
IV. Worked-out examples, etc.
These things follow the modality principle.
Indeed, some things like the worked-example effect tends to reduce all of them. Now, I haven’t explained very well what the difference between integrated examples and examples that split your attention are, but I guess this image will suffice:
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split_attention_effect — Split attention effect, Wikipedia
Now, another way to reduce probably all three types of cognitive load, is through the personalization principle, which means to present text in a way that is imaginable in first-person for the reader. It somewhat reminds me of how Einstein tried to imagine himself as a light beam to understand light better.
In the follow-up chapter, I want to connect this idea with autism, namely how people with autism can experience a rather high extraneous cognitive load, hindering their ability to act and think clearly (intrinsic cognitive load), and therefore also having less resources for germane cognitive load to learn from situations as effectively (or at least during the situation itself).
You can see my Quizlet set here: https://quizlet.com/438904895/e-learning-theory-worked-example-effect-expertise-reversal-effect-diagram/ — [Quizlet] E-learning (theory), Worked-example effect, Expertise reversal effect