Optimizing e-Learning in genetics: creating and comparing three categories of multimedia
Wang, Jenny Rong
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Online learning is rapidly expanding in the United States. One feature of online learning is the increased use of animations, especially in the sciences. However, there are contradictions within the literature regarding the effectiveness of animations in scientific education. Some studies claim that animation is the best modality for teaching scientific topics, while others have shown that it increases cognitive load, leading to reduced effectiveness. This thesis will test these opposing positions by measuring the effectiveness (retention and engagement) across three types of multimedia that we created: (i) a 6 minute 38 second traditional 2D animation, (ii) a 6 minute 43 second whiteboard animation, and (iii) an 8 minute 11 second PowerPoint video edited together from lecture videos. This three-way comparative approach will determine intrinsic differences and similarities across multimedia. We recruited study participants from Amazon Mechanical Turk (N=168), split into six groups of 28 differentiated by video order. Retention and engagement scores were collected via survey in JHM Qualtrics. Using single factor ANOVA, we found no difference (p < 0.05) among the three modalities for retention. However, whiteboard animation performed better with word recall than the other two videos, suggesting that simultaneous narration with written text leads to better learner outcomes. We also found that the two animation formats performed better (p < 0.05) than the PowerPoint lecture for engagement (enjoyment, attention, understanding). This project aims to provide insight for e-Learning creators into which modalities work best for engaging and teaching learners while also considering monetary costs.