Managing Cognitive Load in Verbal and Pictorial Representations

Managing Cognitive Load in Verbal and Pictorial Representations

Slava Kalyuga (University of New South Wales, Australia)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-048-6.ch006


Chapter VI describes specific evidence-based methods for managing cognitive load in verbal and pictorial information representations. According to the major forms of memory storage, there are verbal and pictorial representational modes, whereas according to major forms of sensory input, there are auditory and visual information modalities. The chapter will consider sources of cognitive load involving different modes and modalities of multimedia information presentations. When learners process text and visuals that could not be understood in isolation, the process of integrating verbal and pictorial representations is required for comprehension. When text and pictures are not appropriately located close to each other or not synchronized in time, integrating these referring sources of information may increase working memory load and inhibit learning. Instructional design techniques dealing with such split attention situations may enhance learning. Reducing split-attention in paper-based and on-screen text and graphics was one of the first and most commonly mentioned applications of cognitive load theory. Using dualmode presentations that involve different processing channels of human cognitive system is an alternative approach to dealing with split attention situations. This chapter discusses means for coordinating verbal and pictorial sources of information in space and time, eliminating redundant components of presentations, segmenting instructional presentations in units that could be processed with less cognitive load, and other techniques. The chapter also describes interactions between instructional efficiency of different formats of multimedia presentations and levels of learner expertise in specific task domains.

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