Animated models explicating how a problem is solved and why a particular method is chosen are expected to be effective learning tools for novices, especially when abstract cognitive processes or concepts are involved. Cognitive load theory was used to investigate how learners could be stimulated to engage in genuine learning activities. It was hypothesized that illusion of control would impede transfer performance compared to a condition without illusion of control. Moreover, we hypothesized that learners who first studied an animated model and then solved the same problem would perform better on transfer than learners who studied the same animated model twice or who first solved the problem and then studied the animated model. In a 2 × 3 factorial experiment (N = 90) with the factors illusion of control (yes vs. no) and instruction method (study-practice, practice-study, study-study) only the first hypothesis was confirmed. Implications for the design of animated models are discussed.

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Instructional Science: an international journal of learning and cognition
Department of Psychology

Wouters, P., Paas, F., & van Merriënboer, J. (2010). Observational learning from animated models: Effects of studying-practicing alternation and illusion of control on transfer. Instructional Science: an international journal of learning and cognition, 38(1), 89–104. doi:10.1007/s11251-008-9079-0