Extraneous processing occurs when the brain is trying to make sense of information that has nothing to do with the instructional goal at hand. Ormrod (2012) states that attention plays a major role in information being moved from sensory registry to working knowledge. If cognitive functions are busy trying to determine how an image on one page and text on a second page correlate, then the the attention is not on the meaning itself. A major way in which attention can be influenced is through incongruity. Psychologically, a person’s attention is drawn to instances where objects do not seem to fit within the surrounding text, or lack there of (Ormrod, 2012). An example of this in an e-learning could be text pop ups for a graphic that when opened cover up the graphic. Neither the graphic nor the text can be seen simultaneously. My personal favorite example is having a graphic without explanatory text. The text is way down at the bottom of the image in tiny words with numbers that are supposed to correspond with the graphic. I always feel as though I am being asked to solve a puzzle as opposed to learn something.
Ormrod, J. (2012). Metacognition, self-regulated learning, and study strategies. In J. Ormrod (Ed.), Human Learning. (163-166). Boston, MA, Pearson Education.
Reading this chapter made me appreciate multimedia that try to uphold the contiguity principle. Many of our examples in the chapter illustrated multimedia that is relayed over a computer. But I started to think about iPhones. The iPhone form factor is incredibly small. Smart phone appcreators must struggle with contiguity rules more so than others. I wanted to share some screen shots from a foreign language smart phone app called Duolingo. I believe they uphold the contiguity principles pretty well.
Duolingo pronounces the word or phrase for you in French as soon as the page opens. You can see the “listen” icon in case you need to replay the pronunciation. On the same page you see a female character.
The options for the fill in the blank are on the same page as the graphic. The submit answer button is easily found at the bottom of the screen.
As a learner you receive real time feedback without having to leave the page you are working on. Had I chosen the wrong answer, it would have provided me with the correct answer, and I believe there is an explanation button to help explain why you got the answer wrong.