Sir Ken versus Sir Ken RSA Animate: A Question of Cognitive Load

I've been thinking a lot about cognitive load and learning, and through my travels online I came across the RSA animate version of Sir Ken Robinson's talk on Changing Paradigms in Education. I've seen it a few times and I've seen his original talk too, but watching the RSA Animated version got me to thinking about how these two versions affect people differently.

According to Mayer's Redundancy Principle, Multimedia presentations with both words and pictures should present words as text or audio but not both. His Individual Differences Principle says that his 7 principles are most effective for novice and visual learners.(Mayer, 2005)

Since I had seen the original talk with Sir Ken Robinson speaking a few times, when I view the animated version I could see and hear Sir Ken in my mind, so my experience is a combination of both videos.

I love the animated illustration of his talk, but there are times when I feel I am looking more at the drawing than listening. Is there cognitive load going on here for me? Since I know the content of the talk, it didn't disturb me too much, but maybe I'm in a different category.

I wonder about the viewers who have no knowledge of Sir Ken and his talk or even the subject. What would they make of the RSA Animate version if that is all they knew or saw. I'm guessing that it might be a bit overwhelming. Maybe some will be so caught up in the animation that they may not be able to listen.

The two clips below are not exactly the same as far as audio content too. The RSA Animate version cuts out his many engaging stories that help to illustrate his content.

The RSA Animate version narrows it down to his key points, and personally I do find that the illustration does layout a nice visual picture. I love a good visual representation. Maybe it's good for a new viewer because it reduces the ideas to the key points. On the other hand, for a novice maybe the illustrations make it more difficult to attend to the audio points.

How could I find out what others feel about these two versions. Would there be a different experience depending on level of expertise in the area?

One anecdotal way to see viewer reaction is to look to the comments below the video. Looking below the RSA version I did see some controversy. Many people loved the animated version but a few asked what it was about and some questioned the illustrations. Others seemed to relate to the ideas and asked where they could see the original talk so they could learn more. Unless we asked each person their level of experience with the topic and with Sir Ken we couldn't really know if there was an effect related to experience.

I think comparing novice and expert reactions and learning to the two videos would make an interesting experiment on cognitive load.

In the talk, Sir Ken makes some important points. He talks about kids today being bombarded by information. I wonder if for some the animated version would fit his definition of bombardment or if it would fit his idea of aesthetic. But then he also warns about looking to the back of the textbook for one answer. Maybe there isn't one answer here for everybody. We are lucky to have options!

And I'm lucky to have taken a great course HRE472 that made me question and think about cognitive load.

(PS. Dr H my eportfolio is posted here )

Mayer, R. E. (Ed.). (2005). The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning. New York: Cambridge University Press.
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