Monday, May 19, 2008

Week Three - Theory of Multimedia Learning

Working through lessons 4, 5, and 6 of the Flash manual, I feel like I am getting a handle on many of the basic features of this program. Even my very simple practice exercises impress me!
It's a shame that the book doesn't come with a DVD to walk the reader through the steps. I continue to come across sites that reinforce the manual. ( This one has a review of the basic drawing tools, but I think it's for an older version. Here's another.)

There's also a Wordpress blog with a number of great short video tutorials. Here's a beginner tutorial that I found a good review of the drawing tools and techniques.
Ken has also created some very useful tutorials (see side bar Flash Links)

The Readings:
This week, all the readings are from our text.
  • 1. Introduction to Multimedia Learning (Mayer, 1-16) : I agree with the "learner centered approach". It is important not to climb on the "tech-for-tech's-sake" bandwagon. As Meyer points out, the latter approach has a "100 year history of failure."(p. 9) The focus is not on learning as response strengthening, or information acquisition. Rather, it is meant to foster knowledge construction. ("Meaningful learning" vs "factoids", cognitive activity vs behavioral activity.)
  • 2. Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (Mayer, 31-48): What was intriguing in this article was that everything that Mayer explains in reference to "Multimedia Learning" seems to apply to all learning in general. My question is: when is learning ever via one channel only? Even if I am reading in a text, I visualize portions of the text, and if I am watching a purely visual teaching tool (silent movie? flash cards? ASL?) then my interior dialog is providing a second channel for me to process. Perhaps we should be talking about a "Cognitive Theory of All Learning." (CTAL) BTW, I found this useful PDF summary of CTML. (For a good primer, check out the Wikipedia article on this topic.)
  • 3. Implications of Cognitive Load Theory for Multimedia Learning (Sweller, 19-30) Sweller talks about Long-Term Memory, Working Memory (7 items, 20 seconds), and how they interact. He also looks at extraneous, intrinsic and germane cognitive load.

Re: the third reading by Sweller - I found this interesting paper at, and embedded a viewer to see what this would look like on the blog. (The viewer uses Flash, btw!) Clicking on the top right hand corner of the viewer will load a full-sized version of the article.

Bonus: Learning Objects Explained (using a learning object!) (Click on Learning Object Presentation)

Check out Ken's musings at Cognitive Zoo.

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