Cognitive Media Types for Multimedia Information Access

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Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia






Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education

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Multimedia repositories, libraries, and databases or the potential for providing students with access to a wide variety of interconnected information resources. However, in order to realize this potential, multimedia systems should provide access to information and activities that support active knowledge construction and learning by students. This article proposes a theoretical framework for organizing information and activities in educational hypermedia systems. We show that such systems should not be characterized primarily in terms of the kinds of physical media types that can be accessed; instead, the important aspect is the content that can be represented within a physical media, rather than the physical media itself. We propose a theory of cognitive media types" based on the inferential and learning processes of human users. The theory highlights specific media characteristics that facilitate specific problem solving actions, which in turn are enabled by specific kinds of physical media. We present an implemented computer system, called AlgoNet, that supports hypermedia information access and constructive learning activities for self-paced learning in computer and engineering disciplines. Extensive empirical evaluations with undergraduate students suggest that self-paced interactive learning environments, coupled with multimedia in- formation access and constructive activities organized into cognitive media types, can support and help students develop deep intuitions about important concepts in a given domain.


Originally published by the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Article full text available.