Educational Effectiveness

Why is it that animations sometimes lack educational effectiveness? One possible reason is that the target learners can't process the presented information adequately. For example, it seems that when the subject matter is complex, learners may be overwhelmed by animated presentations. This is related to the role of visual perception and cognition in human information processing. Our human perceptual and cognitive systems have limited capacities for processing information. If these limits are exceeded when using an animation, learning may be compromised. For example, the pace at which the animation presents its information may exceed the speed at which the learner can process it effectively. It is unlikely that superior learning is achieved by thoughtlessly substituting animation for a static graphic but by having it accompany textual explication. Another suggestion for addressing such problems is to provide user control for the learner over how the animation plays. User controllable animations allow learners to vary aspects such as the playing speed and direction, labels and audio commentary to suit themselves.

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