While cleaning up some files on my computer this weekend, I ran across an article that was apparently introduced in ADLT 640. Written by Stephen Sorden, the article was entitled, “A Cognitive Approach to Instructional Design for Multimedia Learning”. Although not required reading for this class, I found it interesting and certainly relevant to what we’ve been studying. In his paper, Sorden elaborates on a number of cognitive theories such as the Theory of Working Memory, Dual Encoding Theory, Cognitive Load Theory, ACT-R Production System Theory and the Cognitive Theory of Multi-media Learning and basically and asserts that unfortunately, much of what we are currently seeing in multimedia instruction may actually hinder the learning that it claims to promote. This really made me think about the importance of not only learning about theories but also how one must carefully explore and consider appropriate application of these theories into the practice of instructional design.
To summarize, Sorden cautioned that:
1) The incorporation and use of visual and auditory components for the purpose of stimulation rather than education can be counter productive and do not make for sound instructional design.
2) The human mind is limited in the amount of information that it can process. It’s important for instructional designers to understand the principles of cognitive science in order to apply to effective instruction design.
3) This is particular relevant as education begins to incorporate “gaming” into learning. One concern should be that using video games as educational mediums may actually decrease learning in comparison to more traditional manners of presenting information through text and pictures.
Sorden emphasizes the need for a learner-centered approach and concludes with a number of principles which may guide to a more effective incorporation of multi-media instruction. I won’t attempt to summarize them all here but rather will conclude with one key point he makes.
“What is most important is not whether the instruction takes place in a classroom or on a computer screen, but whether empirically-tested strategies for multimedia instruction are employed that facilitate knowledge construction by the learner.”
This won’t be of much help with our current project which focuses more on identifying a platform which will best fit the needs of our client but it seems of value in future considerations as we move further through this course on instructional design.