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Multimedia Checklist

As mentioned in my previous entry, I liked the checklists in the Deubel book. I especially liked the big checklist taken from the Vilamil-Casanova book, An Interactive Guide to Multimedia (Que Education and Training, 1996) As a means of "rehearsing" the checklist, I'm going to work through the checklist and identify how some of the guidelines could help shape the development of the Psych One OnLine course that I am working on for my final project:

1) Keep Cognitive Load Low: One of the components that we have considered implementing into the P1 OnLine interface is a little "Core Concept Corner" that would display links to interactive modules on the "Core Concept(s)" being covered by the lecturer during that lecture. A handful of tiles from a broad collection would be displayed based on keywords passed to the Flash application in the XML file that is already in place. If a student clicked on one of the tiles, the video would stop and an interactive module would come up covering a specific core concept such as "correlation" or Hebb's rule" or whatever. The "Core Concept Corner" would be an instance of "layering information" and, thereby, moving the cognitive load onto different layers - offering either a remeidal or an advanced path.

2) Avoid dividing attention: By using a "Core Concept Corner," the cogitive load would be managed by the user. We had also considered using pop-ups to identify "core concepts" at different times but we figured this might actually "divide" the student's attention between the lecturer/synchronized slides and the pop-ups. I do think we need to be very careful about this "core concept" window to avoid the problems mentioned in the article - citing research by S Tergan (1997) - that "With multiple representations, there is a high probability that at least one representation will be misunderstood."

3) Use Media to Direct Attention: There are (at least) two ways in which we could do a better job of using media to direct attention. a) We need to develop a little tutorial that reminds students how to use the "table of contents" scrolling bar so that they are able to have more control over the media in general. b) We need to figure out a way to capture mouse movements that the faculty make during their lecture so that our online students get the same visuals as the students in the live lecture. We could do some of this through animation after the fact but it would be less accurate and more time-intensive. This improvement is a matter of technical know-how and implementation rather than design at this point.

4) Keep Important Information Visible: this could beaccomplished by posting a button to the learning objectives content within the lecture interface. It could be a button within the "Core Concepts Corner" and it would serve as a link and as a reminder for students to check the "learning objectives" for the week.

5) Encourage Rehearsal: "Place practice exercises after presenting a subject to reinforce learning by transferring information from working memory to long-term memory." Yep, we do need to do this. We have the option to post a SWF at the end of the lecture, right in the screen where the slides were shown during the lecture. A SWF could use XML data to generate questions for a little, post-test. We could also use a SWF to do some prompting at the beginning of the lecture as well. The lecturers always do an overview at the beginning of class but it would be good to do a little more active preview.

6) Use Concrete Words and Multiple Media: thumbs up.

7) Design effective exercises: Keller's ARCS - attention, relevance and confidence strategies. Attention sustaining strategies: keep instructional segments short, ease of reading, intermingle information and interaction, use a consistent format with some variation, avoid "dysfunctional" attention-getters. Motivation strategies: question-response-feedback,

["Metacognitive demands are greater for loosely structured learning environments than for highly structured ones; therefore, provide prompts and self-check activities to aid learners in monitoring comprehension and adapting individual learning strategies." (I Park and MJ Hannafin, 1993)]

8) Create realistic simulations: I would love to create realistic simulations. And, according to Deubel, "It is possibleto create relistic simulations and adaptive instruction, if designers use the knowledge architecture that Merrill proposed in his Instructional Transaction Thoery . . . an algorithim-based approach to ID, as opposed to a fram-based approach for branching programmed instruction typical of most authoring systems." But I have only a vague idea of what is being discussed here . . . so,I'll have to follow upwith Merrill at another time.