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The effect of narrative-based E-learning systems on novice users’ cognitive load while learning software applications

Abstract

When novice users try to learn to use a software application that includes a variety of high element interactivity tools, the complex structure of the software can increase cognitive load and render the tools incomprehensible. Accordingly, there is a need for an efficient teaching approach that can provide practical knowledge to users while decreasing their cognitive load. In this study, the use and choice of narrative were selected as procedures that can provide practical knowledge to software learners in addition to impacting cognitive load through providing a familiar theme to worked-examples. We compared the effects of familiar and unfamiliar narratives versus a no-narrative condition on cognitive load of users while learning software applications with both low and high interactivity tools through e-learning platforms. The results showed that an e-learning system with a familiar narrative could decrease cognitive load in comparison to the no-narrative and unfamiliar narrative systems for both low and high interactivity materials. It was concluded that people can learn new software applications more easily when familiar context worked-examples are used to integrate novel material with their existing knowledge.

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Darejeh, A., Marcus, N. & Sweller, J. The effect of narrative-based E-learning systems on novice users’ cognitive load while learning software applications. Education Tech Research Dev 69, 2451–2473 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-021-10024-5

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Keywords

  • Cognitive load
  • Gamification
  • E-learning systems
  • Teaching software applications
  • Element interactivity