Observational learning from animated models: Effects of modality and reflection on transfer.

Pieter Wouters, Fred Paas, Jeroen Van Merriënboer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    Animated models use animations and explanations to teach how a problem is solved and why particular problem-solving methods are chosen. Often spoken explanations are proposed to accompany animations in order to prevent overloading the visual channel (i.e., the modality effect). In this study we adopt the hypothesis that the inferior performance of written text compared to spoken text is due to the fact that written text receives less attention and, consequently, less effortful processing. In a 2 x 2 factorial experiment (N = 96) with the factors modality (written, spoken) and reflection prompts (yes, no) the hypothesis is tested that prompted reflection requires learners to explicitly attend to written explanations and carefully process them, thus yielding higher transfer performance, whereas for spoken explanations prompted reflection would have no effect on transfer performance. The results indeed showed the hypothesized interaction between modality and reflection prompts. They suggest that the modality effect can be compensated for when learners explicitly attend to the information and effortfully process it. This has implications for learning situations in which spoken explanations are no option, such as education for the hearing-impaired.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-8
    Number of pages8
    JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
    Volume34
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009

    Keywords

    • modality
    • reflection
    • cognitive load theory
    • cognitive modeling

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