Multimedia learning: What are the effects on learning of viewing or generating an outline while studying?

Abstract : Introduction: When learning from a multimedia document, learners need to engage in three different cognitive processes which are selecting relevant information, organizing it into a coherent mental representation and integrating it with their prior knowledge (Mayer, 2014). One way to facilitate these processes is to add an aid to the multimedia document such as an outline with the main information and the hierarchical relations between the presented concepts that show the inner structure of the document (e.g., Lorch and Lorch, 1996). Besides, according to activity 50 theory, making students self-generate an outline should encourage generating processing as it promotes the use of these processes thereby enhancing their learning performance (see Stull and Mayer, 2007). However, constructing an outline could also be too demanding a task for it would impact student’s learning negatively (cognitive load theory, Sweller, 1994). Methodology: 83 psychology undergraduate students participated in this study and were randomly assigned to one of the four conditions. Learners were presented with a multimedia document only (control group, n = 20) or accompanied with a provided-outline that remained constant throughout the document (static group, n = 20) or one that appeared step-by step alongside the document (sequential group, n = 21). The fourth group had to generate an outline while reading (self-generated group, n = 22). The learner-paced document consisted of illustrated explanatory texts dealing with memory systems and their brain location. The time spent on the document was collected. Learning was assessed with a retention test about both the macrostructure and the microstructure of the document and also with a transfer test. Results: The conducted anova revealed a significant main effect of conditions on students’ performance regarding the retention test – macrostructure (F (3, 79) = 4.128, p = .009), microstructure (F (3, 7) = 4.204, p = .008) – and the transfer test (F (3, 79) = 4.772, p = .004). On each of these learning measures, analyses indicated that the sequential group obtained significantly higher scores compared to both the control group and the self-generated group with no difference between these two last groups. Discussion: The obtained results have shown that viewing an author-provided outline appearing step-by-step alongside the multimedia document while studying significantly improved students’ performance compared to a group studying the same document without the provided-outline (control group). This was shown not only on the retention test but also on the transfer test. This is consistent with prior researches which have shown that outlines are great aids for students. Besides, the sequential group also significantly outperformed the self-generated group on the retention test and the transfer test. We can suppose that the generative task has been too difficult and increased the cognitive load induced by the document.
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Conference papers
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https://hal.univ-rennes2.fr/hal-01710880
Contributor : Laurence Leroux <>
Submitted on : Friday, February 16, 2018 - 2:47:59 PM
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Tiphaine Colliot, Éric Jamet. Multimedia learning: What are the effects on learning of viewing or generating an outline while studying?. 10th Conference of the Media Psychology Division, University of Koblenz-Landau, Sep 2017, Landau, Germany. ⟨hal-01710880⟩

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