Do stop and smell the flowers now and then with us and literally. And while you are doing that, write in to editor@elc.com.sg and tell us what topics you will like to see being explored here in future issues.

 

 

Anticipating challenges with crossed fingers..

Copyrights 2009 eLC Private Limited. All rights reserved.

Shandy Ting
Editor
eLC

Title: Learning through "monomedia" versus multimedia

 

 

Learning. It is something that we do every day, consciously or unconsciously. There are different methods of learning in the world. However, most of the learning that we experienced every day is done through media components such as video, audio, animation, text, picture, or all of the above mentioned combined in one known as multimedia.

 

Learning through visual images has been a mean of transferring information since Stone Age; Drawings by cave men have been found in many historic sites around the world. When I was a kid, I regarded myself as a visual learner; I can remember and learn better when there is an image presented rather than just reading the text. I am not arguing that reading is not a good learning technique; I do believe text should always be presented for detailed information, especially when it comes to "terms" or scientific words.

 

There are some people who are audio learners; they learn better and faster when the information is orally presented to them.   But the lack of text can cause some disadvantages such as, inability to spell the words, vague recollection of the terms and details, and/or hearing the wrong words. But still...learning through text is not the most effective learning style.

 

When we read, we send the information to our brain once.   When we read a text and see an image that explains the reading, we actually are registering the information to our brain twice. Research has shown that learning through viewing an image does create a deeper and more significant "print" in neuron brain. Therefore, learning through audio, text, and image is equal to three times "printing" information in our brain.

 

Now let's compare the following examples to facilitate learning (text, picture, and video) using a complicated example of a heart pumping action.

 

Text

 

Heart Pumping Action

 

Your heart uses the four valves to ensure your blood flows only in one direction. Healthy valves open and close in coordination with the pumping action of your hearts atria and ventricles. Each valve has a set of flaps called leaflets or cusps. These seal or open the valves. This allows pumped blood to pass through the chambers and into your blood vessels without backing up or flowing backward.

 

Blood without oxygen from the two vena cavae fill your hearts right atrium. The atrium contracts (atrial systole). The tricuspid valve located between the right atrium and ventricle opens for a short time and then shuts. This allows blood to enter into the right ventricle without flowing back into the right atrium.

 

When your hearts right ventricle fills with blood, it contracts (ventricular systole). The pulmonary valve located between your right ventricle and pulmonary artery opens and closes quickly. This allows blood to enter into your pulmonary artery without flowing back into the right ventricle. This is important because the right ventricle begins to refill with more blood through the tricuspid valve. Blood travels through the pulmonary arteries to your lungs to pick up oxygen.

 

Oxygen-rich blood returns from the lungs to your hearts left atrium through the pulmonary veins. As your hearts left atrium fills with blood, it contracts. This event also is called atrial systole. The mitral valve located between the left atrium and left ventricle opens and closes quickly. This allows blood to pass from the left atrium into the left ventricle without flowing back into the left atrium.

 

As the left ventricle fills with blood, it contracts. This event also is called ventricular systole. The aortic valve located between the left ventricle and aorta opens and closes quickly. This allows blood to flow into the aorta. The aorta is the main artery that carries blood from your heart to the rest of your body. The aortic valve closes quickly to prevent blood from flowing back into the left ventricle, which is already filling up with new blood.

 

 

Picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alright, how did you do? Did u remember all the scientific terms such as ventricular systole, atrial systole and aortic valve? I bet you only remember the left and right side of the heart, and maybe the open and close of the valve.

 

Now, try to watch the video from www.youtube.com that I've attached. It is actually an animation of the heart pumping action that include a narrator giving audio lecture, text, and the animation of the blood flow.

 

Video

Click here to download Adobe Flash Plug-in if you cannot view the video.

So, is the video explanation clearer than just reading the text and looking at the picture? Is your understanding of the scientific explanation better now? I personally have major differences in my perceptions of the heart pumping action before and after viewing the video. Not only me, there are people on www.youtube.com with comments like

 

sevensage7 (1 month ago) ``Awesome, I have an Cardio Test tomorrow and I've learned from this vid!``

 

cathywije (2 months ago) ``great video thanks a lot. easy to understand.``

 

luid81 (2 months ago) ``Your video is so good. I am a Biology teacher, can I use this video in my class? This could be of great help to my students. Thanks for posting this...``

 

slipknot463 (2 months ago) ``Perfect video...we're on this chapter at my Nursing School...big help, thanks.``

 

Learning appeared to take lesser time when multimedia instruction is used. Confucius once said What I hear - I forget; What I see - I remember; What I do - I understand. Just like the quote mentioned, we remember what we see and understand when we do something with the information that we've learned (this is known as interactive learning which I will cover in later issues). If you share the same opinion, learning through multimedia instead of monomedia is definitely something you want to explore for future learning schemes.

 

 

References


video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xagOnC6sZEU

 

picture

http://activity.ntsec.gov.tw/lifeworld/english/content/images/en_body_c7.jpg

 

text

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/hhw/hhw_pumping.html

         Editor's Greetings

         News Flash

         Design for Learning: Tips, Tricks and Techniques

         Tech-of-the-Day

         Design Extras

Welcome back from the long weekend! Hope you had the chance to "stop and smell the flowers."

 

Over here, the first quarter of 2009 just quietly slipped past us before we knew it. Not that we are twiddling our thumbs watching the days go by, more like there are so many things happening simultaneously and consecutively that we have little chance to stop and smell the flowers so to speak. Thus, our chief decided it is time for some activities to boost team spirits and soon we are marking the date down in our diaries with both anticipation and trepidation. Anticipation is because we always have a good time. Trepidation because our chief is never dull, and the activities planned will definitely be challenging!

 

If you have not been smelling, do stop as we are sharing our views on the effectiveness of multimedia to learning and a useful text to speech software that is free, so click in for this month's flowers!

Check out this link to cyberpioneer (web publication of the SAF) on their take on the Lectora Carnival & Awards Ceremony 2009!

 

http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/publications/cyberpioneer/news/2009/February/13 Feb09_news.html

 

Here is an excerpt for your reading pleasure:

 

Ms Tay told cyberpioneer that the Lectora program offered great accessibility as it was part of a Learning Management System that was readily available on the Internet. Mr Tan was full of praise for the Lectora program, saying it is "user-friendly and expedites the learning curve greatly".

Title: Effective use of video in your courseware

 

Good day to you fellow practitioners of eLearning. It has been awhile since I last wrote as my hands were full with various learning initiatives and on-going e- projects. During this busy period, I encountered an interesting question raised by one of my clients on the use of video in courseware.

 

The question was: "When I am adding a video to a page where there is already narration and text, do I still incorporate additional explanations in the video or allow the users to view a plain video and take reference from existing page text?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let's see. The learning effectiveness of reading explanatory text presented separately from video is arguable as it also depends on the page design (this will be addressed later). That said, a plain video already captures the realism of content.

 

Albert Bandura (a renowned expert in the area of social learning theory) states:

 

"Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. Fortunately, most human behaviour is learned observationally through modelling"

 

This social learning theory lends credence to the use of video as it stimulates observation in a courseware setting and allows modelling to take place consequently. However, with the inclusion of strategic placement of text or graphics, and appropriate audio, whether within video or separately presented, it further enhanced the content by providing direct focal points and diminishing white noise in the process. In the absence of face-to-face settings, real-life situations or natural environment, it is the next best thing to aid learning and that is what I recommend.

 

Here are some examples for reference. It is by no means exhaustive.

 

Enhancements

Sample screenshot with description

Advantages

 

Captions are strategically placed within the video to guide the learners through each step of the First Aid procedure.

     

 

The video depicted actual conversations between the driver and the police officer to create a realistic role-playing environment.

     

     


Narration is synchronised to corresponding segments in the video to provide timely remediation.

     

     

Narration and video are applied separately i.e. the narration explained what is the flow of events first before the video enact the scene.

     

     

Amongst all the moving bees, a strategic highlight directed the attention to the focal point of the subject matter which is the Queen Bee in the video.

     

1. Inclusion of captions

Learners can easily comprehend what is being demonstrated by the video.

2. Inclusion of actual audio sounds directly captured from scenes

Actual audio sounds in a video lend a greater degree of realism to the teaching content experienced by the learners.

3. Inclusion of synchronised narration to explain segments of the video

Appropriate synchronisation of video and narration helps to reinforce learning points.

4. Inclusion of page narration to brief the learner before visual explanation by the video

This form of presentation is simple yet effective as it allows the learner to register a certain flow of events and ready the mind before the actual observation.

5. Inclusion of strategic highlighting of focal points in the video

This enhancement enables learners to identify the important or focal point of the video effectively rather than be distracted by all the non-vital details captured in the video.

Screenshot example of video being used as a response to the learner's choice

made in the courseware

A video is used here to show the actual response of residents to a police officer's request to leave the scene.

Hence, the above mentioned is my answer to the earlier question. The next time you decide to use a video, take a moment and consider how you can utilise enhancements to maximise the power of this teaching medium to achieve your learning objectives.

Introduction

 

Most people are not aware that Win XP comes with built-in voice recognition and text to speech capabilities.   As part of the package, Microsoft provides a free text to speech software that allows user to convert text document into wave file.

 

Downloading the Software

 

The software is readily available on the Microsoft download website. To obtain it, do a search for Speech SDK 5.1 in your search engine.   Look out for any website under Microsoft domain, it should contain words like 'Speech', 'SDK' or 'Download' in its' header.

 

From the list of files available for download on the website, select the hyperlink SpeechSDK51.exe.   The file size is approximately 69 MB, thus please ensure that you have sufficient space on your hard disk before proceeding.   Once the download is complete, unzip the files to a folder located on your hard drive.et's look at the new features of Lectora in detail and apply these to content development environment.

 

Installing Speech SDK 5.1

Launching TTSApp (Text To Speech Application)

 

By default, the installation of Speech SDK 5.1 comes with several sample files and applications.   Most of it is only of interest to developer who needs to integrate Microsoft Speech recognition with their applications.   Here, we will only be focusing on the Text To Speech Application (TTSApp).

 

In your desktop, click on the Start program button and select the Microsoft SDK 5.1 program folder, click on TTSApp application as shown below.

TTSApp User Interface

 

Before we start using the TTSApp, a brief explanation on the various functions and buttons of the User Interface is provided below;

Configuring TTSApp

Using TTSApp

 

The Open File button allow user to open up a file and speak the content from either Text or XML document.

Initiate the Text To Speech (TTS) process.   It will speak whatever text that is shown in the text window (- 11).

Pauses the ongoing TTS phrase speaking process.

Stop the TTS text phrase speaking process.

Specifies the number of sentences to skip in the phrase speaking process.

Speak the contents of a stored wav file.

Reset TTSApp to its original configuration setting.

Saves the contents of the TTSApp audio output stream to a wav file.

Text Window

The text content of this window is spoken by the TTSApp.   All text entered in this window is processed and spoken by TTSApp.

Mouth Position

The mouth position display the various mouth shapes and positions as TTSApp processes the input text stream.

Voices

Select a voice using the drop-down list.   TTSApp uses the selected voice when speaking a wav file or the contents of the text window.

Rate

Move the slide control to the right to increase the speech rate, and to the left to decrease the speech rate.   The rate level determines the number of text units spoken per minute.   By adjusting the rate slider it is possible to achieve a more human speed of reading.

Volume

Move the slide control to the right to increase the volume level, and to the left to decrease the volume level.

Format

Use the drop-down list in Format to select one of the following format rates.

This TTSApp is relatively easy to use and also a great way to minimise costs on narrators for your courseware, presentations and/or videos, wouldnt you say?

 

Tips and Trick

 

Some tips and trick that you can used to make the voice sounds more human:

1. To introduce Pause into certain words, type in ‘…’ (3 dots) there is a noticeable

    pause before the machine proceeds to read the next word in the sentence.

2. Sometime it is better to change the spelling of the word so that you can obtain a

    better pronunciation of the word.   Use the spelling for the word as it is meant

    to be pronounced.

3. To start new sentence on a new line in the Text Box, use CTRL + Enter.

Title: Microsoft Text to Speech Software

Contributed by: Eugene Ng

Contributed by: Inneke

Contributed by: Lim Wee Teck