This course will become read-only in the near future. Tell us at if that is a problem.

Task Discussion

  • Patricia Mosset   Oct. 30, 2011, 9:26 p.m.

    I think highlighting an area on your screen to draw attention to the main focus is a great tip.  In some videos it is difficult to tell which item to focus in on as a viewer.  It can also be distracting to have a mouse scrolling around on the slides pointing to the item.  I will definately be changing how I highlight the focus item. 

  • Steve O'Connor   Nov. 5, 2011, 3:44 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Patricia Mosset   Oct. 30, 2011, 9:26 p.m.

    I also think that verbal signalling is very important too. With video in particular, I find students too often focus on the wrong thing to the exclusion of the desired learning. I use a lot of video clips in my social studies lessons in particular. Inevitably, these clips usually contain extraneous content.That does not mean we should not use them, but we should be mindful of this and increase the signalling both visual and verbal. Of course when using other's video clips, visual signalling is generally more difficult.

  • karen   Oct. 29, 2011, 7 p.m.

    Many of the graphics in my multimedia have been decorative, but I aim to change that. ;)

    The information on using graphics that are low in complexity (and to some extent the info on excluding extraneous information) makes me wonder if at some point we are "dumbing down" the content as we decrease cognitive load. (I think about how disappointed I was as a child when I learned that simple models of things we'd been taught like the solar system model of an atom weren't really accurate.) Perhaps this is something that can be stepped up over time or changed depending on the age or sophistication of the learner.

    Also, while I understand the theory and research behind eliminating extraneous information, there would seem to be cases that multimedia or graphics could be viewed as lacking quality or professionalism as a result. Powerpoint slides without pretty backgrounds? Podcasts without background music? Some would regard these as unappealing or not serious.

    I'm interested in others' thoughts on this.

    Overall, this information is hugely interesting and useul to me. It will definitely change how I aproach my content creation.

  • Steve O'Connor   Nov. 5, 2011, 3:38 p.m.
    In Reply To:   karen   Oct. 29, 2011, 7 p.m.

    I think some of these recommendation apply more to learners with less background information. I think greater complexity can be introduced as the learner has more background knowledge and prior learning. Pretraining before using more complex representations would ease the cognitive load. I guess I see it not so much as dumbing down as cutting things up into digestable chunks building the capacity to deal with greater complexity. 

    As a teacher, I've experienced many instances where the students focus on the wrong stuff when the images or video have a lot of extraneous material. This is particularly reflected when students write about their understandings on assignments.

    I agree that slides and multimedia should be aesthetically pleasing (as does Mayers). This can be done be applying sound elements of design rather than tacking on decorations or using busy slide templates (like most themes from PPT 2003). In podcasts, sound clips are often used as signalling to define a structure of a program. I think this is a good use of sound. However having background music while the podcaster is speaking (other than a little ducking), would be very distracting in my experience and research seems to bear this out.