According to C & M, spoken text, rather than printed text, accompanying a graphic is more beneficial for knowledge construction. The main reason is is due to the amount of information that the learner’s auditory and visual channels are processing. When the learner is required to look at a graphic and read text, all of the processing is having to go through the visual channel. Even if the graphic and text are accompanied by audio, the visual channel is still going to be overloaded with information thus effect the learning outcomes in a negative way. When there is audio accompanying the visual, the learners processing is split between the audio and visual channels. This provides better attainment of learning outcomes.
I believe the modality principle would be valuable in many of my opportunities to work with teachers and students virtually. My work is focused on building strong mathematical understanding in teachers and students. C & M discussed using spoken text to accompany explanations of the algorithms. When I was in the classroom, I have used this idea with parents of my students. Many parents are hesitant to help their students with homework, because the work their children are doing builds understanding in a way that we are not familiar with. Instead of having parents just look at worked examples of problems, I used student-generated examples for parents to watch. The students would work the example through the app Educreations and narrate their strategy. I would then post these examples online for parents to review. I believe that using students’ voices to narrate the examples created more parents buy-in of the strategies. If I also included text with the animation, parents would probably focus more on the “steps” they used to solve the problem and actually analyze the student strategy less. I think that having to watch and listen allows the brain more opportunity to make sense of what you are seeing.
In considering when I would not use the modality principle, I considered an asynchronous learning environment. When I was learning how to use GIMP, I watched a youtube video that explained how to scale and crop my photo to use as a social media post. I had to keep stopping the video and clicking back to parts to stay on track with the steps. I think that if the explanation for using GIMP were still frames with narration that included the text. I would be able to look at the graphic while I hear what the step was, but I could also refer back to the text if I forgot or became confused about what the step included. Then, I could click a button to move to the next step instead of automatically changing slides.
I would like some feedback on another idea. If I think back to the GIMP example, I wonder if this would break the modality principle. The viewer could watch the animation and hear the spoken text, without any written text. After the animation is complete, the words of the narration appeared to “recap” the steps. That would allow the viewer to see how to do it, but it also gives reference if you get stuck. Any thoughts?