Instructional-Design-Live#18 2010-05-14 Avoiding Overload in Online Courses

Post-Show description: 

As part of a series that focusses on practical strategies for designing effective online courses, the IDL team focus on how to avoid cognitive overload this week.

Cognitive Load


We discussed a numberof practical suggestions from experience and the research and indulged a little in information overload. Lots of good discussion and resources!

Chat Room Protocol



Available on the Web

Chat Transcript



01:23 - Richard P
Thanks, Marlene!

03:38 - Jennifer
beyond 2 for me ... all bets are off :)

07:57 - Mary
Robert,  cognitive load is beyond my area of expertise, but I have a question related to items 2 and 6 on this list.....

08:18 - Peggy George
that's exciting Jennifer!

08:53 - Peggy George
moderators see more than participants in Elluminate :-)

09:02 - Jennifer

09:25 - Peggy George
there really are many things to learn about the tools (#2) before you can manage the content without feeling overwhelmed

09:39 - Mary
When an online instructor posts a video lecture (with camera on faculty member), is this an example of splitting attention?  (eg: when student has to choose whether to focus on the instructor's face/behaviors, rather than the message?

10:27 - Peggy George
not necessarily Mary--if the teacher is talking about what is on the screen that isn't splitting attention

11:02 - Peggy George
it would be more like trying to follow the backchannel chat at the same time you're listening to the presenter and looking at a slide or website

12:19 - Jennifer
sorry! Dr. Anglin is at UK ...

12:29 - Linda U
My attention now totally split trying to get Jennifer's doc, since I don't have Facebook, and apparently I must...

12:32 - Mary
Peggy, but if the speaker is an "amatuer" when it comes to being videotaped, it can be distracting to watch the person while trying to focus on the message.

12:42 - Richard P
And how about an instructor trying to moderate a student chat room (of 10) and process/respond_to what's going on? (been in *that* pain)

12:43 - Peggy George
exactly Linda U!! that is splitting attention :-)

12:56 - Linda U
Unexpected/unplanned demands on attention from media

12:56 - Mary
Thanks, Rovert.

14:15 - Mary
Richard, I encourage instructors to use a chatroom "communication" protocol in that situation, to slow things down to a manageable level/speed.  We can post that doc on our IDL site, if you're interested in looking at it.

14:17 - Peggy George
@Mary-I don't think we think of that example as any different than a f2f class--instructor standing in front of room lecturing using PPT slides--even if a boring presenter it's not splitting attention

14:46 - Richard P
Mary, yes, please. Love to see it.

14:54 - Mary
Will do, Richard.

15:11 - Mary
Fair point, Peggy!  :)

15:28 - Peggy George
great point about chunking information and checking for understanding along the way

15:40 - Jennifer
OVERLOAD example :)

15:56 - Marlene

16:10 - Peggy George
I have heard trainers in Elluminate environments say you should do an activity of some kind every 5 slides (checking for understanding, engagement, etc.)

16:52 - Peggy George
I participated in some of those sessions as a freeloader :-) Fabulous course!

17:28 - Peggy George
they really do need to become familiar with the tool!

19:33 - Marlene
It's really important to know your audience.

19:39 - Linda U
As per # 2 on the slide - is anyone doing a required 5 or 10 minute "intro" that just familiarizes with the tools?

19:43 - Peggy George
people have different learning styles or preferred learning styles and they might choose to focus on the audio rather than the visual chat flying by--can they learn what they need to learn that way?

19:55 - Linda U
maybe a required piece at the beginning of the course, or a PreReq

20:22 - Linda U
In an Asynch course, I had to attend  "Getting Started" course before I was allowed to actually participate in "actual" course

20:32 - Linda U
that taught how to use the tool

20:38 - Richard P
Linda: I was about to say: what prerequisites do there need to be for a course (e.g., even as there might be of computer basics for an online course)?

20:57 - Peggy George
@Linda U- even though it's not a "course" we always start our Classroom 2.0 LIVE sessions with a brief intro of the tool (Elluinate) and also provide a video tutorial that they can play right in webtour while they wait for the session to start

21:13 - Richard P
[or online tutorials available as a resource.]

21:40 - Peggy George
a video tutorial would help in any course introduction area

22:45 - Peggy George
great suggestions Marlene!

23:06 - Deirdre
Students skill with tool use is not sufficient. Shouldn't instructors deliberately structure the cass time so that the content being presented in each modality is addressed.

23:44 - Peggy George
not sure what you mean Deirdre

24:46 - Linda U
Dierdre's voice cutting out a lot

24:50 - Mary
Deirdre is cutting out quite a bit

24:50 - Jennifer
I'm losing Deirdre :(

25:12 - Jennifer
seems better

25:15 - Linda U
repeat what you said, please

25:15 - Marlene
I can hear you now.

25:18 - Robert

25:18 - Peggy George
I think it's her mic

25:22 - Peggy George
not the settings

25:33 - Richard P
Diedre: You're sounding clear now.

25:38 - Jennifer
(good example of backchannel helping to facilitate communication in audio / visual channel)

26:37 - Robert
Yes, good point

26:56 - Linda U
Yes - important addition to class planning

27:02 - chettb
that's a very good point.  we often do that in the classroom so perhaps we just need to be more vigilant about translating these natural pauses for online events?

27:30 - Jennifer
I've seem a suggestion for "laptop up / laptop down" for times when chat is OK and when attention should be focused to speaker

27:48 - Peggy George
so calling attention to the various streams of information occurring at key points during a class?? that makes sense as long as it's not just repeating everything--that wastes time and loses interest

28:53 - Peggy George
yes Jennifer! I have heard people suggest that too--great way to know they are paying attention if laptop is closed but if it's open they can be doing anything :-) can't really control their attention :-)

29:09 - chettb
fascinating converstion, but i regret i have to leave early. Thanks so much Robert, Jennifer, and everyone.

29:18 - Marlene
thanks, chettb.

29:31 - Jennifer
bye chettb :)

29:49 - Peggy George
yes Robert! and we each take away something different from those sessions when the chat is flowing so fast! that's why recordings are so important so you can go back and get what you missed

30:03 - Linda U
Mary - can you provide a link?

30:15 - Linda U
Thank you

30:40 - Mary
Correct, Robert. I'll upload it as a doc or pdf.

30:45 - Peggy George
would love to continue this topic!! very interestin!

30:59 - Jennifer
@peggy ... good point, but is it always reasonable to assume students should "listen" to same lecture multiple times? I do it myself ...

31:10 - Linda U
We could do a Part II of this, easily

31:19 - Linda U
is next week planned yet, btw, in terms of topic?

31:34 - Mary
Agreed, Peggy.  I'm wondering if one of our psych professors should join us in this conversation, as she's an expert on the topic.

31:39 - Robert

31:44 - Deirdre
Thanks... this show is such a great resource!

31:48 - Peggy George
no we wouldn't expect it Jennifer. We just know the option is available to us if we want/need it. Most won't re-listen... I often do

32:08 - Jennifer
thank you, Robert!

32:09 - Linda U
thanks very much!

32:17 - Jennifer
bye, all!

32:17 - Marlene
Thanks, Robert!

32:17 - Linda U

32:19 - Richard P
Nice to discover  this!

32:19 - Jennifer

32:20 - Peggy George
great! let's continue!! :-) Thanks!

32:22 - Mary

32:57 - Richard P
OK !