Skip to main content

Split-Attention Effect

  • Reference work entry
Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

Synonyms

Spatial contiguity; Split-attention principle; Temporal contiguity

Definition

Split-attention occurs when learners are required to split their attention between two or more mutually dependent sources of information (e.g., text and diagram), which have been separated either spatially or temporally. If information of each source is essential for understanding the topic, all information given must be mentally integrated by the learner for learning to occur. However, this forced integration process increases demands on the learner’s working memory (WM) and can impact negatively on learning. To create effective learning environments instructional designers must avoid split-attention by externally integrating the different sources of information together into a single integrated source of information. For example, an integrated formatcan be achieved by embedding written instructions within a diagram (avoiding spatial separation) or aligning spoken text with the targeted picture...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or eBook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 3,400.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 2,999.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

References

  • Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (1991). Cognitive load theory and the format of instruction. Cognition and Instruction, 8, 293–332.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (1996). Cognitive load while learning to use a computer program. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 10(2), 151–170.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ginns, P. (2006). Integrating information: A meta-analysis of the spatial contiguity and temporal contiguity effects. Learning and Instruction, 16, 511–525.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mayer, R. E. (2005). Principles for reducing extraneous processing in multimedia learning: Coherence, signalling, redundancy, spatial contiguity and temporal contiguity principles. In R. E. Mayer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (pp. 169–182). New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sweller, J., Ayres, P., & Kalyuga, S. (2011). Cognitive load theory. New York: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sweller, J., & Chandler, P. (1994). Why some material is difficult to learn. Cognition and Instruction, 12(3), 185–233.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sweller, J., van Merriënboer, J. J. G., & Paas, F. (1998). Cognitive architecture and instructional design. Educational Psychology Review, 10, 251–296.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tarmizi, R., & Sweller, J. (1988). Guidance during mathematical problem solving. Journal of Education & Psychology, 80, 424–436.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paul Ayres .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

About this entry

Cite this entry

Ayres, P., Cierniak, G. (2012). Split-Attention Effect. In: Seel, N.M. (eds) Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_19

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_19

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Boston, MA

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-4419-1427-9

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4419-1428-6

  • eBook Packages: Humanities, Social Sciences and Law

Publish with us

Policies and ethics