Multimedia Learning and Working Memory Capacity

Multimedia Learning and Working Memory Capacity

Peter E. Doolittle (Virginia Tech, USA: Radford, USA: Virginia Tech, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-158-2.ch002
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This chapter addresses the role that working memory capacity (WMC) plays in learning in multimedia environments. WMC represents the ability to control attention, that is, to be able to remain focused on the task at hand while simultaneously retrieving relevant information from long-term memory, all in the presence of distraction. The chapter focuses on how individual differences in attentional control affect cognitive performance, in general, and cognitive performance in multimedia environments, in particular. A review of the relevant literature demonstrates that, in general, students with high WMC outperform students with low WMC on measures of cognitive performance. However, there has been very little research addressing the role of WMC in learning in multimedia environments. To address this need, the authors conducted a study that examined the effects of WMC on learning in a multimedia environment. Results of this study indicated students with high WMC recalled and transferred significantly more information than students with low WMC. Ultimately, this chapter provides evidence that individual differences in working memory capacity should be taken into account when creating and implementing multimedia instructional environments.
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The successful completion of complex cognitive tasks requires that individuals are able to dynamically retrieve, maintain, manipulate, and update information in memory during task performance (Baddeley & Hitch, 1974). This dynamic memory model was investigated by Daneman and Carpenter (1980) who established a positive correlation between complex cognitive task completion and a measure of working memory capacity (WMC); specifically, through the positive correlation of global and local measures of reading comprehension with a working-memory span task involving both the storage and processing of information. Daneman and Carpenter’s working-memory span task (i.e., reading span) required participants to read a series of sentences (processing), while maintaining a list of the last word from each sentence in memory (storage). This storage + processing working-memory span task differed from previous storage-only working-memory span tasks (e.g., digit span, word span) in that a secondary processing task, reading, provided additional working-memory load complexity. It is believed that this storage + processing working-memory span task provides a more complex memory task, and a better estimate of the cognition necessary to complete complex cognitive tasks, than the simpler storage-only span tasks (Daneman & Carpenter, 1980; Unsworth & Engle, 2007).

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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