Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Do instructional animations help or hinder learning?

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

To me, watching an instructional animation simply makes a complex process clearer. For a cognitivist, it's more complex. Instructional animations involve a high cognitive load, and so in theory should hinder, not aid, learning. But if you match them precisely to some sort of dynamic mental model entailed by the learning objectives, then it's an aid. This we read here: "when the learning goal is to acquire a kinematic mental model, the animation format can be more effective than static graphics... The studies reviewed here suggest that the limited effectiveness of many animations in learning occurs because their goal is unrelated to teaching perceptual and dynamic information." I'm sure the animations are still useful, but they teach you stuff that's not on the test.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: May 22, 2024 4:59 p.m.

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