Emotional Design and Engagement With Multimedia Learning Materials in E-Learning

Emotional Design and Engagement With Multimedia Learning Materials in E-Learning

Adem Özgür (Uşak University, Turkey) and Arif Altun (Hacettepe University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7681-6.ch008
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Multimedia learning materials (MLM) play an important role in learning. Engagement is a state that contributes to care of and positive approach to MLM, to pay attention to and deep processing of it, to do activities in it while preventing learners from quitting MLM. The quality of MLMs and students' characteristics are important in the engagement process. Cognitive theories provide valuable principles when designing MLMs, whereas the emotional design of the MLMs and the affective responses they evoke in students remain in the background. The emotional design ensures students' engagement with MLMs, and their interpretation of the knowledge and their learning can be manipulated. In this chapter, student engagement has been elaborated within scope of MLMs. Secondly, the relationship between emotional processes and engagement was examined. It was focused on organizing students' emotional process using emotional design elements and their effects on learning outcomes. Finally, suggestions were made for maintaining interaction with MLM and engagement for learning.
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The effective and efficient design of multimedia learning materials (MLM), used to provide or support learning in face-to-face, blended, and online learning environments, has been an important field of study for years. MLM is created by using verbal (narrative and spoken or written text) and visual (photo, video, animation, etc.) expressions together, enabling students to gain knowledge and skills in a particular subject matter. Various forms of MLMs such as video lectures, e-books, learning objects, animations, hypermedia, infographics, educational games (serious games) are widely used in formal and informal online learning. MLMs may become more interesting and engaging for students by combining texts, visuals, instructional messages, methods, activities, media modalities, and interactions properly. The information that does not attract the focus of attention and does not engage students’ cognition remains inaccessible because it remains unnoticed and unprocessed. In other words, engagement is the basis of learning, and most meaningful learning comes with the engagement process (Clark & Mayer, 2016; Meyer, Rose, & Gordon, 2016; Wankel & Blessinger, 2013).

Student engagement has a multi-dimensional structure. It is assumed that learning takes place by engaging students’ cognitive resources to MLM; therefore, cognitive engagement comes to the fore in learning (Clark & ​​Mayer, 2016; Plass, Homer & Kinzer, 2014). Thus, the cognitive characteristics and limitations are taken into consideration when designing MLMs. Studies show that students’ mode and their affective stances change during the interaction with the MLM. Furthermore, the interaction of these affective processes with cognitive structures such as attention and working memory, underline the role of emotions in processing information, both in generating in and retrieving information from the long-term memory and regulating working memory by expanding and narrowing its capacity. This situation makes it important to engage students in MLMs and address the role of emotional processes in organizing their learning.

Existing literature pointed out with a slight criticism in that cognitive-based individual differences and the design features are used in the design of MLM and learners’ emotional characteristics and the design characteristics of emotions are not taken into account (Leutner, 2014; Plass & Kaplan, 2016). Questions such as how emotion design features penetrate engagement and how emotional characteristics could be integrated in MLM remain salient. Therefore, in this chapter, we seek to answer the question of how we can improve students’ engagement and provide support for learning with emotional design in MLMs. In the following sections, first of all, the concept of student engagement will be defined and the literature on conceptualization for engagement will be discussed. Engagement with MLM and its sub-dimensions will be summarized. Secondly, the relationship between affect and engagement with MLM will be explored along with the emotional design elements. Thirdly, suggestions will be provided regarding the possible effects of ED on engagement with MLM. Finally, the effects of ED on processing the information and the intervening effects on short and long-term learning outcomes will be discussed in detail. It is also an aim to provide researchers a broader context of engagement within MLM, (a) integrating the role of emotions in design process, (b) drawing attention to the interaction of cognition and emotion, and (c) how emotion regulation can be facilitated with emotional design.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mood: It can be seen as keeping the core affect a certain level for a long time (hours and days). Moods such as sullenness and being pleasant are functional in influencing cognition and preparing the individual for future stimuli.

Core Affect: It is a neurophysiological state that is constantly present in the individual and can be accessed consciously when desired. Its conscious access is felt like a combination of valence going from positive to negative and arousal going from low to high. The core affect may change independently of a particular object or event; the cause of the change in the core affect may be attributed to an object or event.

Cognitive Engagement: It refers to the engagement of the student's mental resources / cognitive structures to the multimedia learning material, processing the information, and using metacognitive strategies to ensure learning. It is emphasized more than other engagement sub-dimensions in learning.

Behavioral Engagement: It is the sub-dimension of engagement that reflects student’s observable behaviors in multimedia learning material (MLM) such as performing activities (drag-and-drop, click on objects, write text, etc.), tasks (assessment tasks, educational game), conscious navigation (forward and backward, go to a specific page, search, etc.), marking important points, and duration of the interaction with MLM.

Emotion: It is an intense feeling towards a particular stimulus (object, person, event), determining the person's approaching or avoidance tendency. Emotions consist of various components such as phenomenological, physiological, expression, behavior, and motivation.

Engagement With Multimedia Learning Material (MLM): It refers to a state that student aims to learn the content, use cognitive resources, implement learning strategies, approach positively to MLM, and perform tasks and activities in MLM.

Emotional Design: The visual and auditory elements in the multimedia learning material are designed to create or regulate students' affect or regulate their current mood. The valence (positive-negative) and arousal (low-high) dimensions of affect may be altered by various design elements and features such as anthropomorphism, ambient sounds, warm colors, and metaphors. Thus, the student's cognitive structures (attention, working memory, etc.) are regulated by the affect created by design; the student is more effectively connected to the material, and learning is achieved.

Emotional Engagement: It is the interaction of the students with positive feelings towards MLM such as liking, being pleased, wanting to spend time, feeling and knowing that MLM will meet their needs and their willingness to continue it. They want to examine other MLMs in the long term.

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