Contextual Learning and Memory Retention: The use of Near Field Communications, QR Codes, QBIC, and the Spacing Effect in Location Based Learning

Contextual Learning and Memory Retention: The use of Near Field Communications, QR Codes, QBIC, and the Spacing Effect in Location Based Learning

David Metcalf (University of Central Florida, USA) and David Rogers (University of Central Florida, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-703-4.ch019
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An important part of multiplatform or blended learning is designing learning environments that take full advantage of the relative strengths and weakness of the various platforms employed to meet learning objectives. The desktop has strengths that are conducive to immersive learning environments, whereas mobile devices excel in contextual learning and performance support roles. Blended learning then, is not merely porting the same content from one platform to another, but recognizing the need for unique implementations. This chapter will examine two general applications in which mobile learning takes advantage of the flexibility afforded by the platform. In the first case we will explore the possibilities presented by physical hyperlinks through the use of Near Field Communications, QR codes, and image recognition software. In addition to providing contextually relevant information, the mobile platform is ideal for providing enhanced conceptual retention. The Spacing Effect demonstrates that memory decays according to a well-defined logarithmic curve. Once this curve has been optimized for an individual, it is possible to determine the most productive times to review learning objectives. Mobile devices are theperfect platform to review material initially mastered on a desktop or in a classroom, and these scheduled sessions can boost retention times dramatically. Contextual Learning and Enhanced Retention are two applications that cater to the strengths of mobile devices, and augment a holistic multiplatform approach to learning.
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User Interface

One of the most important design requirements of a user interface is visual consistency. A theory known as “contextual cueing” asserts “invariant properties of the visual environment such as stable spatial layout… [allow] us to interact more effectively with the visual world.” (Chun, 2000). With regards to software applications, a well-designed user interface transparently guides the user through the content, and equips them with the tools that they need to understand and manipulate new material.

Our reliance on these interfaces becomes so ingrained that in some respects, users cease to notice them at all. But even a subtle change can be very disruptive. Anecdotally, there are many who experience these disruptions each time Microsoft upgrades their suite of office tools. Users accustomed to the old interfaces are faced with the fleeting frustrations of learning to navigate the new menus.

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