, Volume 61, Issue 1, pp 91-105

Guided self-management of transient information in animations through pacing and sequencing strategies

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Abstract

Learning with instructional animations may overstretch limited working memory resources due to intense processing demands associated with transient information. The authors investigated whether explicit instructional advice coupled with a task-specific learner control mechanism (such as a timeline scrollbar) could facilitate the successful self-management of transient information. The effectiveness of a timeline scrollbar that allowed self-pacing and self-sequencing of animations was compared with computer-controlled animations. Experiment 1 demonstrated that a timeline scrollbar (with instructional advice on its strategic use) enhanced the retention of stroke sequences in writing Chinese characters. In Experiment 2, a timeline scrollbar was used in an integrated set of narrated animations dealing with complex scientific information. Retention and comprehension post-tests indicated that although a scrollbar accompanied by instructional advice in its use assisted novice learners, no such effect was found with participants who possessed higher levels of prior knowledge. The findings have implications for the formulation of criteria for the effective incorporation of learner control into the design of instructional animations.