The effects of presentation pace and modality on learning a multimedia science lesson
MetadataShow full item record
Working memory is a system that consists of multiple components. The visuospatial sketchpad is the main entrance for visual and spatial information, whereas acoustic and verbal information is processed in the phonological loop. The central executive works as a coordinator of information from these two subsystems. Numerous studies have shown that working memory has a very limited capacity. Based on these characteristics of working memory, theories such as cognitive load theory and the cognitive theory of multimedia learning provide multimedia design principles. One of these principles is that when verbal information accompanying pictures is presented in audio mode instead of visually, learning can be more effective than if both text and pictures are presented visually. This is called the modality effect. However, some studies have found that the modality effect does not occur in some situations. In most experiments examining the modality effect, the multimedia is presented as systempaced. If learners are able to repeat listening as many times as they need, the superiority of spoken text over visual text seems lessened. One aim of this study was to examine the modality effect in a learner-controlled condition. This study also used the one-word-at-a-time technique to investigate whether the modality effect would still occur if both reading and listening rates were equal. There were 182 college students recruited for this study. Participants were randomly assigned to seven groups: a self-paced listening group, a self-paced reading group, a self text-block reading group, a general-paced listening group, a general-paced reading group, a fast-paced listening group, and a fast-paced reading group. The experimental material was a cardiovascular multimedia module. A three-by-two between-subjects design was used to test the main effect. Results showed that modality effect was still present but not between the self-paced listening group and the self textblock reading group. A post-study survey showed participants’ different responses to the two modalities and their preferences as well. Results and research limitations are discussed and applications and future directions are also addressed.