Aside from being able to hurdle the barriers of costly education and inflexible schedules, e-learning has evolved into a method that strives to take learning to a whole new level. At EHA, each e-learning module is designed in ways that optimize learning and support the processes needed to enhance the learning process. Various instructional methods are used, each contributory to guiding the learner toward active cognitive processing of information. This allows data, such as words and pictures, to be easily integrated into working memory for easier incorporation into long-term memory.
To achieve this, instruction design is patterned in such a way that it supports and enhances the processes that allow meaningful learning. In particular, these four processes are:
- Selecting important information from the lesson.
- Managing the limited capacity of the brain’s working memory
- Integration of verbal and visual sensory information with existing knowledge
- Easy recall and retrieval of new skills and information from long-term memory when needed later
Below, we talk about these processes and how e-learning design can augment each.
Selecting important information
E-learning modules have to take into consideration the human brain’s limited capacity. Too many details in a single page can compete for the learner’s attention and distract from important information. Because of this, information that is most relevant should be highlighted, and the learner’s attention must be guided toward such details. A way of doing this is to use visual cues, like a circle around important text or a different color to emphasize on important keywords.
Managing limited capacity
During learning, the brain’s so-called working memory must be free to be able to process and comprehend new information. When the working memory reaches its full capacity, learning slows down and the learner’s brain is unable to absorb new data. This information burden that must be held in the brain’s working memory combined with information still waiting to be processed is known as “cognitive load.” For efficient learning to occur, modules and instructional methods should be designed in a way that decreases cognitive load, thus freeing a portion of working memory and allowing effective processing. An example of this is minimizing decorative graphics or pictures, removing background music, avoiding irrelevant visuals, and using phrases that are concise and direct to the point.
Integration of information
Both visual and verbal information are taken up by the brain’s working memory and integrated into an organized structure, which is then further incorporated into prior knowledge and later on into long-term memory. When using both pictures and words in a lesson, these should be presented together for easier interconnection and integration. Aside from this, practice exercises help encourage more rapid integration of information into long-term memory because they require active processing and help connect new information with prior knowledge.
Easy recall and retrieval
Aside from simply adding new information to long-term memory, successful learning entails being able to effectively recall and retrieve new knowledge when needed. Thus, these new knowledge structures must be efficiently programmed into long-term memory for easy access later on. Without being able to retrieve the encoded information, new knowledge cannot be applied into future situations where they are needed. Exercises and case scenarios that involve application of new knowledge help establish these information structures for easy recall, retrieval and transfer in situations where they are needed.
With these principles in mind, EHA’s modules are designed especially for efficient learning and easy recall of information. This allows learners to competently update their knowledge for easy recall and application into their respective fields.