This study used cognitive load theory to investigate whether an animation about the cardiovascular system can become a more effective educational tool by designing it with sensitivity to the capacity limitations of working memory. To manage the high extraneous cognitive load imposed by the need to process series of successive and transient information elements, a sequence of static key frames from the animation was presented to learners directly after the animation. Two interactive instructional conditions, which required learners either to construct or reconstruct the sequence of key frames, were compared to a non-interactive condition. It was hypothesised that the interactive activities would lead to more efficient transfer performance. The results confirmed the hypothesis, indicating that the interactive conditions required less mental effort to attain the same performance as the non-interactive condition. Instructional design implications for learning from animations are discussed.
Paas, F., van Gerven, P. W. M., & Wouters, P. (2007). Instructional efficiency of animation: Effects of interactivity through mental reconstruction of static key frames. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 21, 783-793. https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.1349