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The effect of mode of presentation, cognitive load, and individual differences on recall

Mosher, D. A. (2018) The effect of mode of presentation, cognitive load, and individual differences on recall. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

The exponential growth of technology has placed today’s educational system in a quandary, where many schools are endeavouring to meet the requirements of the current digital generation without knowing how mobile technology affects learning. Mayer’s (2005) Multimedia and Redundancy Principles of Learning offer explanations for learning, and were the key theories against which the current research was measured. The aim of the investigation was to measure learning outcome in three separate subject disciplines: science–topic heart; geography–topic map; and English–topic poem, over two testing times, to determine whether mode of presentation (paper vs. M-technology, i.e., Pads®) and cognitive load (text-only vs. text & graphics vs. graphics & audio vs. text, graphics & audio) had an impact on recall. The variables of gender, working memory, and motivation were identified as possible individual differences affecting learning outcome. An opportunity sample of 346 secondary school students, males and females 11-14 years-of-age, from a multinational independent school in The Middle East participated in the quasi-experimental research. Statistical analyses included group comparisons (ANOVA, ANCOVA) with supporting correlational analysis. Prior knowledge had an impact on recall in the heart topic. Findings revealed no significant difference to learning outcome between paper and M-technology resources in each of the three curriculum topics, except in the science topic where boys’ retention of information was significantly better in the paper condition than the M-technology condition. Cognitive load had an impact on recall in each of the three subject areas, where a different cognitive load combination resulted in the significant retention of information in each of the curriculum areas. Motivation and gender modulated the effects of recall. Findings across the different subject disciplines either supported or refuted Mayer’s (2005) Multimedia and Redundancy Principles of Learning, determining that no one cognitive load combination was suitable for all three subject disciplines and the type of content should dictate the cognitive load condition most effective for learning. Discovery informs teaching methods and warns educationalists about making claims for innovation without any data to support gains.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Powell, D. and Stainthorp, R.
Thesis/Report Department:Institute for Education
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education
ID Code:84822

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