Cognitive Architecture and Instructional Design in a Multimedia Context

Cognitive Architecture and Instructional Design in a Multimedia Context

Renae Low (University of New South Wales, Australia)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-158-2.ch001
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Our knowledge of human cognitive architecture has advanced dramatically in the last few decades. In turn, that knowledge has implications for instructional design in multimedia contexts. In this chapter, we will analyse human cognitive architecture within an evolutionary framework. That framework can be used as a base for cognitive load theory that uses human cognitive architecture to provide testable hypotheses concerning instructional design issues. Human cognition can be characterised as a natural information processing system. The core of such systems can be described using 5 principles: (a) information store principle, (b) borrowing principle and reorganizing principle, (c) randomness as genesis principle, (d) narrow limits of change principle, and (e) environment organizing and linking principle. These 5 principles lead directly to the instructional effects generated by cognitive load theory. Some of these effects are concerned with multimedia learning. The particular ones discussed in the chapter are the split-attention, modality, redundancy, element interactivity, and expertise reversal effects.
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Biologically Primary And Biologically Secondary Knowledge

Geary (2007) divides knowledge into biologically primary knowledge that we have evolved to acquire easily and automatically and biologically secondary knowledge that relies on primary knowledge but that we have not evolved to acquire. Examples of activities driven by primary knowledge are listening and speaking our first language, recognising faces, using general problem solving techniques and engaging in basic social relations. We have evolved over millennia to acquire massive amounts of knowledge associated with these activities easily, quickly and without conscious effort. We can acquire biologically primary knowledge simply by being immersed in a normal human society. Explicit instruction is unnecessary.

In contrast, biologically secondary knowledge tends to be associated with a more advanced stage of development of civilization. It has only been required since the rise of civilisation and so we have not evolved to acquire specific examples of biologically secondary knowledge. We can acquire such knowledge using biologically primary knowledge but it is acquired relatively slowly and with conscious effort. In contrast to biologically primary knowledge, biologically secondary knowledge requires explicit instruction and conscious effort on the part of learners. The bulk of knowledge acquired in educational institutions such as schools consists of biologically secondary knowledge.


Human Cognitive Architecture When Dealing With Biologically Secondary Knowledge

There is a basic logic associated with the acquisition of biologically secondary knowledge and that logic is identical to the logic that underlies the processes of evolution by natural selection. Both are examples of natural information processing systems (Sweller & Sweller, 2006). There are many ways of describing that logic. In this chapter we will use five basic principles.

Information Store Principle

In order to function, natural information processing systems require a massive store of information used to govern activity. In the case of human cognition, long-term memory provides that store. The well-known work of De Groot (1965) and Chase and Simon (1973) on the knowledge chess masters have for board configurations taken from real games provides evidence for the importance of long-term memory for most facets of cognition, including problem solving. A genome provides the same function for evolution by natural selection.

Borrowing and Reorganising Principle

Acquiring a massive store of information requires an efficient acquisition procedure. In the case of the human cognitive system, that procedure involves borrowing and reorganising information from the long-term store of other individuals by imitating what they do, listening to what they say and reading what they write. The information obtained is combined with previous information resulting in reorganisation. Findings based on cognitive load theory provide evidence for the importance of the borrowing and reorganising principle (e.g. Sweller, 2003, 2004). How cognitive load theory suggests instruction should be organised to facilitate the borrowing of information is discussed below. During sexual reproduction, evolution by natural selection uses the borrowing and reorganising principle to allow a genome to acquire large amounts of information that is necessarily reorganised during the process.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Robert Zheng
Chapter 1
Renae Low
Our knowledge of human cognitive architecture has advanced dramatically in the last few decades. In turn, that knowledge has implications for... Sample PDF
Cognitive Architecture and Instructional Design in a Multimedia Context
Chapter 2
Peter E. Doolittle
This chapter addresses the role that working memory capacity (WMC) plays in learning in multimedia environments. WMC represents the ability to... Sample PDF
Multimedia Learning and Working Memory Capacity
Chapter 3
Anne E. Cook
This chapter focuses on issues dealing with the definition and measurement of cognitive load in multimedia and other complex learning activities.... Sample PDF
Measurement of Cognitive Load During Multimedia Learning Activities
Chapter 4
Stephen K. Reed
This chapter discusses a theoretical framework for designing multimedia in which manipulation, rather than perception, of objects plays the... Sample PDF
Manipulating Multimedia Materials
Chapter 5
Katharina Scheiter, Eric Wiebe, Jana Holsanova
Multimedia environments consist of verbal and visual representations that, if appropriately processed, allow for the construction of an integrated... Sample PDF
Theoretical and Instructional Aspects of Learning with Visualizations
Chapter 6
Florian Schmidt-Weigand
This chapter introduces eye tracking as a method to observe how the split of visual attention is managed in multimedia learning. The chapter reviews... Sample PDF
The Influence of Visual and Temporal Dynamics on Split Attention: Evidences from Eye Tracking
Chapter 7
Tad T. Brunyé, Tali Ditman, Jason S. Augustyn
Multiformat and modality interfaces have become popular and effective tools for presenting information in training and instructional systems.... Sample PDF
Spatial and Nonspatial Integration in Learning and Training with Multimedia Systems
Chapter 8
Mike DeSchryver
We claim that the Web has the potential to be a quintessential multimedia environment for complex learning, particularly in ill-structured domains.... Sample PDF
New Forms of Deep Learning on the Web: Meeting the Challenge of Cognitive Load in Conditions of Unfettered Exploration in Online Multimedia Environments
Chapter 9
Renae Low
In the field of multimedia learning, although research on cognitive effects and their implications for instructional design is rich, research on the... Sample PDF
Motivation and Multimedia Learning
Chapter 10
Min Liu, Paul Toprac, Timothy T. Yuen
The purpose of this study is to investigate students’ engagement with a multimedia enhanced problem-based learning (PBL) environment, Alien Rescue... Sample PDF
What Factors Make a Multimedia Learning Environment Engaging: A Case Study
Chapter 11
Michael J. Hannafin, Richard E. West, Craig E. Shepherd
This chapter examines the cognitive demands of student-centered learning from, and with, Web-based multimedia. In contrast to externally-structured... Sample PDF
The Cognitive Demands of Student-Centered, Web-Based Multimedia: Current and Emerging Perspectives
Chapter 12
Lloyd P. Rieber
This chapter presents a review of research on the use and role of interactive simulations for learning. Contemporary theories of learning... Sample PDF
Supporting Discovery-Based Learning within Simulations
Chapter 13
Gina J. Mariano
The role and promotion of transfer in multimedia instructional environments is an oft-neglected concept in instructional multimedia research.... Sample PDF
Fostering Transfer in Multimedia Instructional Environments
Chapter 14
Kirsten R. Butcher, Sebastian de la Chica, Faisal Ahmad, Qianyi Gu, Tamara Sumner, James H. Martin
This chapter discusses an emerging theme in supporting effective multimedia learning: developing scalable, cognitively-grounded tools that customize... Sample PDF
Conceptual Customization for Learning with Multimedia: Developing Individual Instructional Experiences to Support Science Understanding
Chapter 15
Mingming Zhou
We suggest that multimedia environments can benefit from learning as well as offer significant capacity to serve as research purposes. Because... Sample PDF
Designing Multimedia to Trace Goal Setting in Studying
Chapter 16
Alan D. Koenig, Robert K. Atkinson
The first part of this chapter explores how narrative can be used as a cognitive aid in educational video games. It discusses how narrative is... Sample PDF
Using Narrative and Game-Schema Acquisition Techniques to Support Learning from Educational Games
Chapter 17
Marian J.A.J. Verhallen
Advanced digital storybooks offer, in addition to an oral rendition of text, the possibility of enhancing story content through the use of video. In... Sample PDF
How Literacy Emerges from Living Books in the Digital Era: New Chances for Young Linguistically Disadvantaged Children
Chapter 18
Wolff-Michael Roth
To learn by means of analogies, students have to see surface and deep structures in both source and target domains. Educators generally assume that... Sample PDF
Emergence of Analogies in Collaboratively Conducted Computer Simulations
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