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Attention please! Enhanced attention control abilities compensate for instructional impairments in multimedia learning




Learners exposed to multimedia learning contexts have to deal with a variety of visual stimuli, demanding a conducive design of learning material to maintain limitations in attentional resources. Within the current study, effects and constraints arising from two selected impairing features are investigated in more detail within a computer-based learning task on factor analysis. A sample of 53 students received a combination of textual and pictorial elements that explained the topic, while impaired attention was systematically induced in a 2 × 2 factorial between-subjects design by interrupting system-notifications (with vs. without) and seductive text passages (with vs. without). Learners’ ability for controlled attention was assessed with a standardized psychological attention inventory. Approaching the results, learners receiving seductive text passages spent significantly more time on the learning material. In addition, a moderation effect of attention control abilities on the relationship between interruptions and retention performance resulted. Explanations for the obtained findings are discussed referring to mechanisms of compensation, load, and activation.

Author(s): Wirzberger, Maria and Rey, Günter Daniel
Journal: Journal of Computers in Education
Volume: 5
Number (issue): 2
Pages: 243--257
Year: 2018
Publisher: Springer Nature

Department(s): Rationality Enhancement
Bibtex Type: Article (article)

DOI: 10.1007/s40692-018-0106-0


  title = {Attention please! {E}nhanced attention control abilities compensate for instructional impairments in multimedia learning},
  author = {Wirzberger, Maria and Rey, G{\"u}nter Daniel},
  journal = {Journal of Computers in Education},
  volume = {5},
  number = {2},
  pages = {243--257},
  publisher = {Springer Nature},
  year = {2018}