Speech Cueing on the Web by ‘The Little Dude’: Multimedia Instruction for Young Children

Speech Cueing on the Web by ‘The Little Dude’: Multimedia Instruction for Young Children

Bruce L. Mann (Memorial University, Canada), Henry Schulz (Memorial University, Canada) and Jianping Cui (Bow Valley College, Canada)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/ijopcd.2012070103


There is a real need for studies on learning from multimedia with school-age children, even pre-school children. In this research, temporal speech cueing was proposed to help young children as they listened to a speaking pedagogical agent direct their attention to details in on-screen text and graphics. An experiment was conducted with 4th and 5th graders (n = 133) who read on-screen text, and listened to cues presented by a pedagogical agent. Results showed that children in the speech cueing group out-performed those in the on-screen text group in immediate and delayed post-tests. Agent movement had no effect. Implications are discussed for helping young children to learn from the on-screen text presented in contemporary educational multimedia.
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Research with young children on learning from multimedia is scarce, which is surprising given the cartoon-like quality of the materials. We believe that young children would be as accustomed, and perhaps even more accustomed than undergraduate students to learn from multimedia and cartoon-like characters (i.e., agents), and would therefore be less likely to experience novelty effects from speech cues presented by a pedagogical agent.

. Young children are not simply little adults, not capable of reasoning as an adult until they reach the age of 15 (Piaget, 1966/2000). The human brain is not fully developed until late adolescence and in some males not until early adulthood (Case, 1985). Therefore any effects of learning from multimedia found in adults (i.e., undergraduate psychology majors and pre-service teachers) may be quite different from that in young children, and should not be automatically applied to children.

Our research will extend previous investigations of educational multimedia to beginning readers in the early years of schooling. Children at this stage of their development, although they spend much of their day in school, have not yet been streamlined by their abilities nor would they have to devote most of their class time to intensive curricular study (Case, 1985). Most beginning readers rely on context to read (Goldsmith-Phillips, 1989), showing a heavy reliance on contextual facilitation of word perception and are less adept at contextual facilitation of comprehension than children in the higher grades, in accordance with Stanovitch's (1980) interactive-compensatory hypothesis.

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