Category Archives: 1.2 Using

Project #5: Worked Example Screencast

The screencast was a tutorial for faculty who wanted to use the Flipped Classroom approach and wanted to provide videos for students to view before coming to class. Faculty were exposed to two techniques to accomplish this using Moodle.

Technique 1 was by uploading a video file from their computer using Moodle’s File resource and Technique 2 was by using a link to a YouTube video using Moodle’s URL resource.

Although the video is approximately six (6) minutes in duration, the two techniques followed the segmenting principle and included title clips for each technique, effectively making each video three (3) minutes long. This is in keeping with research on screencast videos which revealed that after 6 minutes, viewers started to lose interest.

Faculty were then urged to use one of the techniques to provide a video to students for their Flipped Classroom.

The screencast video was produced using Camtasia. It was not difficult to use since I have experience using it, but regardless it is a time consuming process to edit since mistakes are made even if you have a complete narration of what you intend to say.

Link to screencast video is HERE.


e-ducator podcast – episode 1 – Flipped Classroom

e-ducator podcast series

The e-ducator podcast series presents an informative and educational discussion on things related to education.

It provides an avenue for education stakeholders to have a voice and also learn about things educational.

In episode 1, we discussed the Flipped Classroom as an innovative and trending approach to teaching and learning.

Listen to the podcast HERE.

You can also download a copy of the transcript HERE.

Happy listening!

AECT Standards

AECT Standard 3  (Learning Environments) states that “Candidates facilitate learning by creating, using, evaluating, and managing effective learning environments.”

Indicator 6 of AECT Standard 3 refers to Diversity of Learners as “Candidates foster a learning community that empowers learners with diverse backgrounds, characteristics, and abilities”.

By creating a transcript of the audio file, the AECT standard 3, indicator 6 is being adhered to. This allows for learners who may have hearing challenges to still benefit form the educational content of the podcast series.

The Web Accessibility in Mind organization also suggests transcription as a means to create accessible content. As educators, this is very important as we comply with Section 508 and provide learners with optimal condition for learning despite diverse learning styles (preferences).

Analysis of Coherence Principle

What is the Coherence Principle and its most important constraints/criteria?

The Coherence Principle is one of the principles of the cognitive theory of multimedia learning developed by Richard Mayer which is aimed at reducing extraneous processing in multimedia learning.

The overarching theme of the Coherence Principle is that people better understand an explanation from a multimedia lesson containing essential material (concise lesson) than from a multimedia lesson containing essential material and additional material (expanded lesson) (Mayer, 2010).

Three (3) hypotheses have been used to justify the Coherence Principle:

  1. “Learning is improved when interesting but irrelevant words and pictures are excluded from a multimedia presentation.”
  2. “Learning is improved when interesting but irrelevant sounds and music are excluded from a multimedia presentation.”
  3. “Learning is improved when unneeded words and symbols are eliminated from a multimedia presentation.”

These three hypotheses provide us with general guidelines that should be followed by creators of multimedia content for learning also called e-Lessons. These guidelines are:

  1. Avoid e-Lessons with extraneous graphics
  2. Avoid e-Lessons with extraneous audio
  3. Avoid e-Lessons with extraneous words

Mayer (2010) provides the rationale for the Coherence Principle that “extraneous material competes for cognitive resources in working memory and can divert attention from the important material, disrupt the process of organizing the material, and prime the learner to integrate the material with an appropriate theme.”

The known constraint identified for the Coherence principle is that it may be particularly important for learners with low-working-memory capacity or low domain knowledge. This is useful to creators of e-Lessons who seek to cater for diverse learning abilities.

Describe and/or include one example of successful and one example of unsuccessful attempts to apply the Coherence Principle in actual instruction and training you have experienced, especially as it might be implemented in PowerPoint-based instruction and training.

Have you ever seen this principle violated or abused? Identify the violations, including citations as needed from your textbook.

PowerPoint has become an almost indelible teaching aid amongst educators. Several design templates available in the versions of PowerPoint released between years 1995 through 2000 allowed users to create colourful presentations.

It was commonplace to see textual content and graphical content appearing on the same slide. As a means to allow PowerPoint to serve as a presentation and handout notes to learners, slides were often overloaded with textual content.

The novelty of animations and sound effect often led to an overuse of these features as students including myself were fascinated at the power of PowerPoint. However, the novelty of PowerPoint wore off and continued use of the dazzling features of animations and sounds became a distraction to learning.

In this regard, I have experience the worst of training during the early part of the 21st century with PowerPoint. Today (year 2016), the default templates available in the most recent versions of PowerPoint are less confusing/cluttered and the colour schemes are well-designed.

Trainers/Presenters have followed suit and content used on PowerPoint slides normally follow the basic guidelines for creating PowerPoint presentations.

No longer are animations and sound effects the primary focus of the presentation since most presenters recognize now that PowerPoint is to be used as an aid to presenting or teaching and not as a replacement for presenting or teaching.

There is therefore greater adherence to the coherence principle as presenters/trainers have noticeably made an effort when using PowerPoint to “limit extraneous graphics, sounds and words” as suggested by Richard Mayer.

Discuss the relationship of the Coherence Principle to other Multimedia Learning Principles examined thus far in your readings.

The theory of multimedia learning is based on three (3) key assumptions:

  • Dual channels – humans process separate channels for processing visual and auditory information
  • Limited capacity – humans are limited in the amount of information that they can process in each channel at one time
  • Active processing – humans engage in active learning by attending to relevant incoming information, organizing selected information into coherent mental representations, and integrating mental representations with other knowledge.

These assumptions relate to the mental effort (cognitive processing) required for learning to occur efficiently. The main guidelines to be followed from these assumptions are to:

  • Reduce extraneous cognitive processing
  • Foster generative cognitive processing
  • Manage essential cognitive processing

The Coherence Principle adheres to the guideline of reducing extraneous cognitive processing primarily by avoiding the use of extraneous material from multimedia lessons.

Other principles such as the redundancy principle, spatial contiguity principle and modality principle also adhere to these guidelines.

With respect to the Redundancy Principle the guideline of managing essential cognitive processing is adhered to as it states that people learn better from graphics and narration than from graphics, narration and printed text.

The Spatial contiguity principle states that students learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented near rather than far from each other on the page or screen.

The rationale behind this principle is that when corresponding words and picture are near to each other on the page or screen, learners do not have to use cognitive resources to visually search the page or screen, and learners are more likely to be able to hold them both in working memory at the same time.

Similar to the coherence principle, the spatial contiguity principle is aimed at reducing extraneous cognitive processing and managing essential cognitive processing.

The Modality principle states that people learn more deeply from pictures and spoken words than from pictures and printed words. Therefore, if a multimedia lesson contains pictures and printed words, an overload can be caused in the visual system. The guideline of managing essential cognitive processing is therefore applicable with the modality principle.

In some multimedia lessons, it may not be possible to avoid all extraneous material. In this case, the signaling principle should be followed. This is done by inserting cues in the multimedia lesson to direct the learner’s attention toward the essential material.

Discuss the relationship of the Coherence Principle to fundamental theories of psychology as described by Clark & Mayer in your textbook.

The Coherence principle emanates from the theory of multimedia learning which is based on cognitive psychology of learning and is centered around the theory of knowledge construction.

Knowledge construction posits that learners build mental representations based on what is presented and what they already know (Mayer, 2010).

Arguments against the Coherence principle are often presented using arousal theory – the idea that students learn better when they are emotionally aroused by material (Clark & Mayer, 2011). This is a theory for motivation where the addition of interesting but irrelevant material can serve the purpose of energizing learners so that they pay more attention and learn more overall.

Although arousal theory seems plausible, its genesis is in the behaviorist psychology of learning developed by B.F Skinner and is centered around knowledge transmission which asserts that learning involves taking information from the teacher and putting it into the learner.

The Coherence Principle does not support the arousal theory since it (coherence principle) makes the assumption that seductive details serving to arouse learners may interfere with the process of knowledge construction and reduce learning.

What do you personally like or dislike about this principle? Present a coherent, informed opinion and explain why you hold this opinion.

Are there any limitations or qualifications of the principle (caveats) which the authors did not consider and, if so, what are they?

The Cognitive theory of multimedia learning from which the Coherence Principle has been developed continues to evolve in terms of research. Since it is concerned with the brain – one of the most complex processes to understand about humans, there will be conditions that may prove or disprove the coherence principle.

The guideline of the coherence principle to avoid extraneous audio, words and pictures in order to facilitate efficient processing in working memory seems sensible, however, some learners may not be motivated enough to learn with such a focused approach.

Many lessons/instructional plans start with a set induction which seeks to grab learners’ attention and pique their interest for the instructional content to follow. For example, a set induction on how lightning storms develop may show a brief video clip of the fatal destruction and havoc storms have caused.

This may serve as the attention grabber for the students and a means by which they would want to learn how storms are developed and ultimately how they are able to cause this destruction.

Structuring a lesson with ‘needle-point’ focus on the science behind storms may be abstract and not interesting to learners who otherwise have no interest in storms. The set induction in this case is therefore supported by arousal theory.

Furthermore, if the learner is able to see real-world examples of storms and their destruction, it might be a means by which learning by making connections can be facilitated although the lesson is on the science of storms and not its destruction.

In relation to avoiding extraneous audio, an argument can be posited that audio can serve as a means of signaling to learners. If we consider a television production, many sounds are used to evoke emotion and grab the attention of viewers. If such television productions serve the purpose of being educational, they should be categorized as e-lessons and therefore the Coherence principle should apply.

In this case, however, the coherence principle may need to be qualified or further investigated for its applicability. Our reflection as children and observation of children may not support the coherence principle since many television productions in the form of cartoons may contain extraneous audio.

Since the research to prove the Coherence Principle was conducted amongst college-aged students ranging in age from 18 to 22 years old (Clark & Mayer, 2011), further studies should be considered amongst other age demographics to ensure consistency and applicability of the Coherence Principle across all age groups.

Clark, R., & Mayer, R. (2011). e-Learning and the Science of Instruction (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Mayer, R. E. (2010). Multimedia Learning (2nd ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Haiku Deck – Facilitating Active Learning during Lectures

Haiku Deck presentation

My presentation looked at making lectures a space for active learning. Lectures by definition are a passive instructionist method of teaching as the Lecturer also called the “sage on stage” being the “only source of knowledge” delivers his instruction to students who fill their brain “vacuums” with this knowledge. Of course, there has been a paradigm shift towards constructivist approaches but the lecture still remains a popular method of instruction because of its economical value when  physical resources and human resource capacity are limited.

Since there is a definite practical benefit (financial and otherwise) to the lecture, the Haiku Deck presentation suggests a tool that can be used to enhance the pedagogical value of the lecture. This can be done through the use of a Student Response System – a tool to facilitate active learning of students during the passive lecture.

The presentation then concludes by appealing to lecturers to attend workshops to gain the benefits of the potential of Student Response Systems.

Haiku Deck as a Tool (My Thoughts)

Haiku Deck suggests best practice for its use by “keeping it simple”, “making it beautiful”, and “having fun”. These suggestions are consistent with the Principles of Multimedia Learning by Richard Mayer, specifically, those principles related to reducing unnecessary content that can lead to extraneous cognitive processing and connecting with your audience vis-à-vis personalization principle.

This is my third time using the free version of  Haiku Deck and although the tool is commendable, I still remain a MS PowerPoint advocate because of its wider range of features. I view Haiku Deck as a cheese-only pizza being sold for the same price as MS PowerPoint, the pizza with all the garnishes.

My preference is to buy the pizza with all the garnishes and remove unwanted garnishes until I am left with a cheese-only pizza rather than buy a cheese-only pizza.

This is not to discredit Haiku Deck but with the recent addition of Office Mix for PowerPoint, which ultimately makes programs such as Haiku Deck, Google Slides, Keynote and Camtasia struggle as a second place alternative, I prefer to remain with MS PowerPoint for now.


Project #1: Static Multimedia Instruction

Multimedia Learning refers to learning from words, however, multimedia instruction refers to the presentation of material using both words and pictures, with the intention of promoting learning (Mayer, 2010).

This post was made to showcase an example of static multimedia instruction on Online polling using Socrative Quizzes.

Learner Description

The learners are Grade 10 teachers with a basic knowledge of the computers and Internet use.

Learner Objectives/Outcomes

After viewing the “How-To” Guide on Online Polling using Socrative Quizzes, learners (Grade 10 teachers) should be able to:

  • Follow a series of steps to access to Socrative™ as a Teacher
  • Follow a series of steps to create a poll using the multiple choice question type in Socrative™

How-To Guide/ Tutorial

The pdf document showcasing an example of multimedia instruction can be viewed HERE.

Process of Creating How-To Guide / Tutorial

The How-To Guide was completed using a trial version of the software Clarify™. This was my first experience using Clarify and I found it was intuitive. I have created How-To guides and tutorials before but I used a combination of Microsoft Word and Paint.

Clarify™ makes the process of taking and organizing screenshots quite easy by inserting the screenshots in the Clarify document which avoids the back and forth between applications.

The tutorial outlined the steps from registering an account through to publishing an online poll to students using Socrative. At each major step, Clarify was used to take screenshots using the Shift-Ctrl-2 key combination and automatically the screenshots were organized in the Clarify document.

Clarify™ also has a basic editing tool to include annotations such as arrows or step numbers which were used to highlight a particular item, field or button on Socrative.

After annotating my screenshots, I exported to Microsoft Word because I wanted to use my own pre-defined styles for headings and not what was available in Clarify™. Headings used a gerund naming convention deliberately to convey an active and involved learning approach when using the How-To/Tutorial Guide.

I then exported the MS Word version of the How-To Guide to Adobe PDF format.

The How-To guide had to be re-done because Socrative made a complete change to their interface on July 10, 2016 on the launch of Socrative Pro (paid) version. As a result, I had to replace existing screenshots but this was easily accomplished with Clarify™.

Thoughts on Clarify™

Clarify is an easy tool to use especially for taking and annotating screenshots and can meet my needs in the future for the most part. I did not notice a feature to easily erase a part of the screen shot and re-color the erased part using a fill feature. I also did not notice a color picker which is useful in re-coloring.

Re-coloring is sometimes useful if you want to display a screenshot that is unobstructed, clean and clear of unwanted items.

Multimedia Principle

The Multimedia Principle recommends that words and supporting graphics be used to support learning rather than text alone.

The How-To/Tutorial Guide presented a step-wise process of screenshots leading to the end result which was publishing a poll. The screenshots were obtained to support the textual instructions of the steps.

Steps were succinct to reduce essential cognitive processing. The screenshots used were strategically included cognizant of the learners who were new to Socrative. The combination of text and graphics seemed most appropriate for the learners.

Contiguity Principle

In its simplest form, the Contiguity Principle recommends that words should be aligned to corresponding graphics.

The How-To/Tutorial Guide satisfied the principle as far as was practicable by positioning textual words near to the screenshots.

Excessive annotations on the screenshots were deliberately avoided to avoid a confusing or cluttered screenshot.