Does instructional approach matter? How elaboration plays a crucial role in multimedia learning.

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Abstract

This study compared the affordances of 4 multimedia learning environments for specific learning processes. The environments covered the same domain but used different instructional approaches: (a) hypermedia learning, (b) observational learning, (c) self-explanation-based learning, and (d) inquiry learning. Although they all promote an active attitude, they differ in the specific learning processes they intend to foster. In earlier research (Eysink et al., 2009 ), we found that learners involved in self-explanation-based or inquiry learning had the highest learning outcomes. In these approaches learners were required to generate (parts of) the subject matter, from which we concluded that they presumably stimulated learners to elaborate. Therefore, in the present study we expected that learners involved in self-explanation-based or inquiry learning would engage in more learning processes connected to elaboration than would learners involved in hypermedia or observational learning. Forty participants worked through the learning environments while thinking aloud; their protocols were coded using a generic learning processes scheme. Results showed that self-explanation-based learning and inquiry learning led to greater engagement in learning processes in general and more elaborative processes in particular. The results suggest that elaboration is indeed the key process explaining differences in learning across different instructional approaches within multimedia learning environments
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-625
JournalJournal of the learning sciences
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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