The Animation And Interactivity Principles In Multimedia Learning

Betrancourt, M. (2005). The animation and interactivity principles in multimedia learning. In Mayer (ed.),
The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning, pp.287 -296. New York: Cambridge.

Computer animation has tremendous potential to provide visualizations of dynamic phenomena that involve change over time. However, the research reviewed in the article showed that learners did not systematically take advantage of animated graphics in terms of comprehension of the underlying causal or functional model. This chapter reviewed the literature about the interface and content features that affect the potential benefits of animation over static graphics.

In the last decade, with the rapid progression of computing capacities and the progress of graphic design technologies, multimedia learning environments have evolved from sequential static text and picture frames to increasing sophisticated visualizations. Two characteristics appear to be popular among instruction designers and practitioners: the use of animated graphics as soon as depiction of dynamic system is involved, and the capability for learners to interact with the instructional material. Animation can provide benefits when it is interactive and the system reacts to the learner's input. Also, when learners have interactive control over their interaction with the animation, they find the material more enjoyable and easier to understand. Due to the cognitive load of processing animations, animation should only be used when truly needed, such as when the phenomenon changes over time, making static representations unacceptable, and when learners are novices in the domain and need assistance in forming mental models.

Again, like the articles covered in Interaction Design 2, The use of animation in interaction design must be leveraged on as an needed basis. Just like symbols and signs, too many of these visual sign can cause cognitve load issues for the elarners. Therefore, from a scaffolding perspective, it would be great to leverage animation interactions for novice users or for when the interaction design warrents proper use of it (i.e.: to provide feedback via an avatar to the learner).

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