The Use of Eye-Gaze to Understand Multimedia Learning

The Use of Eye-Gaze to Understand Multimedia Learning

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3822-6.ch033
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There is great interest in how learners construct knowledge when presented with multimedia. Although information has been gained from evaluating recall performance across multimedia conditions, the use of eye-gaze indices for understanding multimedia learning is becoming increasingly popular. Within the multimedia learning literature, researchers have used duration, frequency and sequence of fixations as well as shifts in eye-gaze to identify differences regarding the selection, organization, and integration of information among learners. The current chapter provides a discussion of eye-gaze measures that have been employed in multimedia research and their related interpretations for the attentional process that takes place during the learning phase. In addition, considerations for using eye-gaze measures to understand multimedia learning are presented.
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Background On Eye-Gaze Research

According to the eye-mind hypothesis (Just & Carpenter, 1980) and the assumption of the eye-mind link (Reichle, Pollatsek, & Rayner, 2006), there is a close association between the element of the visual field a person is fixating on (aka overt attention) and his/her cognitive attention (aka covert attention). It is assumed that individuals are attending to the element of the visual field which their eyes are fixated (Anderson, 2000; Wang, 2011). When people attend to information they make a sequence of fixations separated by fast eye movements known as saccades. Fixations capture the motionless gaze or pauses that typically last about 200-500ms when visual information enters the information processing system; on the other hand, vision is suppressed during saccades (Rayner, 1998; Viviani, 1990). Therefore, information abstracted from learners’ fixations - including duration, frequency, location, or sequence - has been considered the most meaningful for understanding attentional processes during multimedia learning.

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