Ed Tech 504 Jigsaw Summary of article

In this week of class, we formed small groups, read an article, and wrote a 500 word summary of the article.  We then commented on each others’ summaries, and answered any questions that came up regarding our summary.  The ensuing discussions on the Moodle board, I thought, really enhanced everyone’s summaries.

Condensing the summary into 500 words was no easy task.   The article discussed the science of learning (the study of how people learn), and the science of instruction (the study of how material is presented including strategies and tools to facilitate learning).  The author argues that the best instructional tools need to founded on the science of learning, and must be tested in order to determine if they are successful.  The author tested several strategies, and developed a list of the ten principles for multimedia learning.  The list is intended to help instructors help their student select important ideas, organize the ideas, and ultimately integrate the ideas into their knowledge.

Here is the link to the article we reviewed. Mayer_2009 (1)

Below is our summary of the article.

Applying the science of learning: Evidence-based principles for the design of multimedia instruction

This article shows the reciprocity between the disciplines of the science of learning and the science of instruction working together to determine the best instructional practices based on research from both disciplines.  Mayer uses the science of learning to identify and test instructional strategies to inform the science of instruction.

Science of learning is the process a learner goes through as they create change in their knowledge by selecting what needs to be learned, organizing the information in a way to help make meaning, and integrating the information with prior knowledge to create meaning. Science of instruction is the presentation of material to facilitate learning.  Multimedia learning is any learning that involves both words (spoken or written) and pictures (static or dynamic). Learners have two channels to process verbal and visual information, each channel has a finite capacity at any given moment in time.  The author demonstrates that in order for instruction to be meaningful the strategies must be tested in a controlled experiment to determine if the strategy suggested by the science of learning is effective in increasing learner knowledge.  After testing several strategies, the author developed the ten principles of multimedia learning.

Within these ten principles, Mayer developed five principles specific to reducing extraneous processing.  The first two principles, coherence and signaling, address the need to stay focused on the main goal by reducing or avoiding extraneous information and highlighting the essential information. Redundancy is most easily summarized by, “…people learn better from animation and narration than from animation, narration, and on-screen text.” The spatial contiguity principle states that people learn better when corresponding images and text are in close proximity to each other. The final principle to reduce extraneous processing is the temporal contiguity principle; it states that people learn better when corresponding narration and animation occur simultaneously rather than successively (2008, p. 763).

In addition to the above mentioned principles, Mayer also discusses three principles for managing essential processing.  Segmenting, pretraining, and modality encompass the ideas of breaking the information into small chunks, providing background information before the learning, and presenting information as spoken text instead of printed text (2008, p. 765).

When extraneous processing has been reduced and essential processing has been managed effectively, learners must be enticed to engage in generative processing. Based on cognitive learning theory, Mayer developed and tested the effectiveness of the multimedia principle, which demonstrates that people learn better from words and pictures, than words alone.  Last, the personalization principleindicates that a conversational style of instruction because a sense of partnership has been established  (Mayer, 2008). Throughout the article,  the effectiveness of conducting applied research on cognitive theories of learning is demonstrated to resulted in sound instructional theories. Mayer refers to this as  “conducting basic research on applied issues” (2008, p. 767). These instructional theories can be used to design instruction, which can be used to further test and develop theories of learning, thus defining a reciprocal nature between the science of learning and the science of instruction.

 Mayer, R.E. (2008). Applying the science of learning: Evidence-based principles for the design of multimedia instruction. American Psychologist, (63) 8, 760-769.http://edtech.mrooms.org/pluginfile.php/91214/mod_resource/content/0/Mayer_2009.pdf

 Written by: Cheryl Brown, Caroline Cooney, and Beth Swaby

Some comments from our Instructor include:

“The science of learning is NOT the process…, but rather the study of learning” (the process of).  Also, our instruction thought the summary would have been better if we tied the summary to one of the “big three” learning theories, behaviorism, cognitivism, or constructivism.”  Lastly, he felt that some of the sentences could have been clearer.

Here is our updated summary (not for a better grade, but for the sake of making the summary clearer.)

Applying the science of learning: Evidence-based principles for the design of multimedia instruction

This article shows the reciprocity between the disciplines of the science of learning and the science of instruction working together to determine the best instructional practices based on research from both disciplines.  Mayer uses the science of learning to identify and test instructional strategies to inform the science of instruction.

The science of learning is the study of learning which includes how people learn.  According to Mayer, the process of learning includes selecting what needs to be learned, organizing the information in a way to help make meaning, and integrating the information with prior knowledge to create meaning.  Science of instruction is the presentation of material to facilitate learning.  Multimedia learning is any learning that involves both words (spoken or written) and pictures (static or dynamic).  Learners have two channels to process verbal and visual information, each channel has a finite capacity at any given moment in time.  The author demonstrates that in order for instruction to be meaningful the strategies must be tested in a controlled experiment to determine if the strategy suggested by the science of learning is effective in increasing learner knowledge.  After testing several strategies, the author developed the ten principles of multimedia learning.

Within these ten principles, Mayer developed five principles specific to reducing extraneous processing.  The first two principles, coherence and signaling, address the need to stay focused on the main goal by reducing or avoiding extraneous information and highlighting the essential information. Redundancy is most easily summarized by, “…people learn better from animation and narration than from animation, narration, and on-screen text.” The spatial contiguity principle states that people learn better when corresponding images and text are in close proximity to each other. The final principle to reduce extraneous processing is the temporal contiguity principle; it states that people learn better when corresponding narration and animation occur simultaneously rather than successively (2008, p. 763).

In addition to the above mentioned principles, Mayer also discusses three principles for managing essential processing.  Segmenting, pretraining, and modality encompass the ideas of breaking the information into small chunks, providing background information before the learning, and presenting information as spoken text instead of printed text (2008, p. 765).

When extraneous processing has been reduced and essential processing has been managed effectively, learners must be enticed to engage in generative processing. Based on cognitive learning theory, Mayer developed and tested the effectiveness of the multimedia principle, which demonstrates that people learn better from words and pictures, than words alone.  Last, the personalization principle indicates that a conversational style of instruction is best because a sense of partnership has been established (Mayer, 2008). Throughout the article,  the effectiveness of conducting applied research on cognitive theories of learning is demonstrated to result in sound instructional theories. Mayer refers to this as  “conducting basic research on applied issues” (2008, p. 767). These instructional theories can be used to design instruction, which can be used to further test and develop theories of learning, thus defining a reciprocal nature between the science of learning and the science of instruction.

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