Measurement of Cognitive Load During Multimedia Learning Activities

Measurement of Cognitive Load During Multimedia Learning Activities

Anne E. Cook (University of Utah, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-158-2.ch003
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This chapter focuses on issues dealing with the definition and measurement of cognitive load in multimedia and other complex learning activities. The chapter is broken into 3 main sections: defining multimedia learning and describing its effects on cognitive load; describing theoretical definitions of cognitive load; and mapping definitions of cognitive load onto commonly used measurement techniques. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how research on multimedia learning and cognitive load could be advanced by carefully considering issues of construct validity, and by including the use of convergent measurement techniques.
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Over the last thirty years, there has been considerable interest in the areas of cognition and instruction (Ayres, 2006; Brunken, Plass, & Leutner, 2003; Sweller & Chandler, 1991, 1994; van Merrriënboer & Sweller, 2005). Specifically, researchers are interested in understanding learners’ mental processes, as well as the instructional procedures and designs that best facilitate those processes, especially when learning involves multimedia, where information is processed through multiple sensory channels (Mayer & Moreno, 2003; Michas & Berry, 2000; Moreno & Mayer, 1999). One of the most studied topics in this domain has been cognitive load and modality in learning (Mayer, 2001; Mayer & Moreno, 2003; Sweller & Chandler, 1991). Based on the assumptions of working memory theory (Baddeley, 1986, 1999), the concept of cognitive load refers to learners’ ability to process information given the current demands placed on working memory. As learning tasks become more complex, they demand more working memory resources, thereby increasing cognitive load. When the demand for working memory resources exceeds availability, cognitive “overload” occurs, and individuals’ ability to learn and process information decreases.

Although there is a plethora of evidence concerning the effects of cognitive load on learning from multimedia and ways to effectively reduce cognitive load (Mayer, 2001; Mayer & Moreno, 2003), the central question pertaining to the study of cognitive load still remains unanswered: When, how, and at what level do we know the learner is cognitively overloaded? In other words, how do we define cognitive load, and how do we measure it, particularly in multimedia learning tasks? This chapter discusses: (1) multimedia learning and its cognitive consequences with regard to learners’ information processes; (2) definitions of cognitive load; and (3) approaches to measuring cognitive load in multimedia and complex learning environments.

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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