Signaling function

In the process of prepping for Flipped Learning in my classroom, I’ve been reviewing literature and experimenting with video production with the help of my students. I’ll be blogging my personal insights to shape my own understanding and hopefully reduce the learning curve for other current or would-be “flippers”.

I’ve been skimming through Richard Mayer’s book on Multimedia Learning and of all the principles, the principle of signaling caught my eye because of a few examples I have come across.

Students understand a multimedia presentation better when it contains signals concerning
how to process the material.

This sounds intuitive actually but often times, as teachers who are already expert in the material, we are able to process the subject matter without any signaling. Hence we forget to include them in our presentations or videos. Thankfully, my video collaborator, Hanyi, has good intuition about video production and did a good job with our upcoming video.

the steps

He first starts with a clear and visually appealing schematic of what we will be going through in the video. I find his organisation and selection of fonts and colours much more appealing than say a linear “point 1 to 6” list of steps. So I would like to add that not only should we adhere to the signaling function, the signal itself must be eye catching, aesthetically appealing without drawing too much undue attention. Not an easy feat and Hanyi managed to do this quite well.

Step 4 - derive output

The steps are then shown as the video progresses through to help the learner process the video in phases. Such that instead of a continuous process of drawing the graph which novice students may find confusing initially, it’s broken up into nice bite size chunks for cognitive processing.

This is signaling of the chunks or phases within a video. But there is also signaling of where a video fits in a larger series.

Rationale of flipped

Dr Ashley Tan’s video above shows a signal of the video as part 2 of a series of videos. This primes me to anticipate that there is more to learn as this is only part 2 out of 5. And that since this is a video on rationale, the others will be of other topics perhaps of technology or paedogogical issues. This makes me more “ready” for learning in this video and subsequent videos.

Frankly I don’t think I have expressed the advantages/importance of signaling very well. This is one of those things where I feel so strongly about and yet lack the precise language to articulate my thoughts. If any of my fellow practitioners or even students are reading, please leave a comment on why you think signalling is beneficial/helpful below. Or tweet me @gilbertng_yf .

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