Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education

Major Professor

Ann Barron, Ed.D.

Keywords

Cognitive load, Performance efficiency, Animated demonstration

Abstract

While many educators suggest active, rather than passive learning, this is not always the best solution, especially when learners are novices. Sweller and Cooper found learners who passively studied worked examples were significantly more efficient than those who actively solved problems (Cooper & Sweller, 1987; Sweller & Cooper, 1985) later described as the "worked-example effect" (Sweller & Chandler, 1991). The current study tested the claims of Lewis (2005) who suggested animated demonstrations act as worked examples. It compared the performance of groups of preservice teachers who: studied animated demonstrations (demo); studied animated demonstrations and practiced procedures (demo+practice & demo2+practice), or practiced procedures (practice). Two MANOVAs were used to compare group performance. During week one, it was hypothesized that the demonstration learners would out-perform those in the practice condition given performance time and accuracy.

It was found that there was a significant difference between groups, Wilks' ?=0.68, F (2, 68) = 6.83, p<0.0001, ?²0.32. Post hoc comparisons with Scheffé's test p<0.025) revealed that the demonstration groups (demo+practice and demo2+practice groups) assembled the problem, in significantly less time than the practice group, which is positive evidence for the worked-example effect (Sweller & Chandler, 1991) given animated demonstrations. During week two, a similar MANOVA revealed no differences between groups. While this study considered learner performance from a human computer interaction (HCI) perspective, it also considered learners from a cognitive load perspective, by measuring relative condition efficiency (Paas & van Merriënboer, 1993). In addition, it developed a new measure called performance efficiency. During week one, the demonstration conditions were found to be significantly different F (2, 68) = 3.69, p=0.03, given relative condition efficiency.

This is positive evidence of the variability effect. However in post hoc comparisons these instructional conditions were not found to differ. Performance efficiency was found to be significantly different, during week one, F(2, 68) = 12.95, p<0.0001, and post hoc comparisons with Scheffé's test (p<0.05) revealed the demonstration learners were significantly more efficient, than the practice learners. During week two, groups were not significantly different, so once learners had practiced procedures, they performed equally well.

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