Designing Science Simulations in Accordance with Research-Based Guidelines: A Case Study Approach


Educational researchers have shown experimentally that student learning through animations and videos can be made more effective through the consideration of a number of cognitive based design principles. The applicability of these evidence based guidelines in the design of complex science simulations for a popular online course regarding life on other planets is documented in the current paper. Science simulations pose a number of difficulties for the designer as they tend to deal with complex, and at times counter intuitive information, may incorporate a number of learner-controlled parameters and often require significant levels of prior knowledge. Through a collaborative approach involving an academic content expert, several programmers and an educational multimedia specialist the team were able to more effectively co-design and re-design the simulations in accordance with evidence based guidelines. Multimedia learning principles guided the manner in which the designer, for example, utilised signalling techniques such as arrows and highlighting, incorporated spatial and temporal contiguity so as to minimise the split attention effect and avoided redundancy effects by a re-consideration of the relevance of secondary information. In some cases the complexity of the information in the learning resources, necessitated a short audio-visual explanation for student viewing prior to engaging with the simulation. A number of examples are illustrated visually to make explicit the nature and substance of the design considerations that were employed. The simulations were embedded within an online adaptive learning environment that was supplemented with self-paced lecture material containing both textual and visual elements.

Author Information
George Hatsidimitris, University of New South Wales, Australia
Jeremy Bailey, University of New South Wales, Australia
Lucyna Chudczer, University of New South Wales, Australia

Paper Information
Conference: IICTCHawaii2016
Stream: Multimedia

This paper is part of the IICTCHawaii2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon