Sustained Learning in 4th and 5th Graders but not 7th Graders: Two Experiments with a Talking Pedagogical Agent

Sustained Learning in 4th and 5th Graders but not 7th Graders: Two Experiments with a Talking Pedagogical Agent

Bruce L. Mann (Memorial University, Canada), Henry Schulz (Memorial University, Canada), Jianping Cui (Bow Valley College, Canada) and Shannon Adams (Brother Rice High School, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0137-6.ch011
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In this chapter, agent movement and temporal speech cueing were designated for empirical study. In Experiment 1 an agent presented students in grades 4 and 5 (n = 133) with instruction, practice, and feedback on the proper usage of the apostrophe to show singular and plural ownership. Analyses of the data in Experiment 1 showed that modality effects favoured speech cueing over text cueing but agent animation had no effect. In Experiment 2, a different agent presented students in grade 7 (n = 91) with examples and practice questions on multiplying and dividing fractions. Experiment 2 data showed no effects for modality or agent animation. The data reflects previous findings of inconsistent effects in modality research.
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Listening And Reading In Adults

From these advances and others, we know that when adults listen and look at educational multimedia, they integrate spatial and verbal sensations in their working memory for a short time as they generate meaningful relationships between the spatial store and the verbal (language) stores. Most adults can systematically and completely integrate information from listening and reading (Pressley & McCormick, 1995), by self-initiating an executive control of these different mental processes (listening and reading), as suggested in the literature (Halliday, 1987; Higginbotham-Wheat, 1991; Penney, 1989). During listening, adults acquire the gist or meaning from the auditory sensations (Hildyard & Olson, 1982; Penney, 1989; Reyna, 1992; Brainerd, 1993), and from reading text, acquire the details or surface features (Tannen, 1985), sometimes known as verbatim information learning (Martin & Briggs 1986; Penney, 1989). However when our attention is overloaded or distracted, features can be combined inappropriately. We know that students learn better when the instructional material does not require them to split their attention between multiple sources of mutually referring information (Chandler & Sweller, 1992; Mayer & Moreno, 1998; Mousavi, Low, & Sweller, 1995). Meaningful learning occurs when adults select relevant information in each store, organize the information in each store into a coherent representation, and make connections between corresponding representations in each store (Mayer, 1997).

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