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Star Fall

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Jeff Brown

on 1 December 2014

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Transcript of Star Fall

How load was managed-
Cognitive Load Theory

Teaching while taking the advantages of human cognitive architecture in consideration

Is the goal transfer or learning?
Bonner, J. (1988). Implications of cognitive theory for
instructional design: Revisited. Educational
Communication and Technology, 36(1), 3-14.

Mind, Brain, and Education (2010) Neuroscience
Implications for the Classroom (The leading Edge

Salomon, G. & Perkins, D.N. (1989). Rocky Roads to
transfer: Rethinking mechanisms of a neglected
Educational Psychologist
, 24, 113-142.

Sweller, J. (2011) Cognitive Load Theory.
Psychology of
Learning and

, 55, 37-77.

The learner watches the computer screen
While listening to the phonetics and sentences of learning materials
Then, the learner processes two different channels in the brain
the phonics of the words (written texts, spoken words )
and the visual images (diagrams, images, etc.)
This is processed and stored in his/her working memory

Which Theory is Used?

What is transfer?
Side effect is noticeable from learning
What type of transfer?
Low-road transfer: skills practiced repeatedly and become automatic; easily applied to similar situations (Salomon and Perkins, 1989)
How do we know this?

Students learn phonetics and build vocabulary skills. The goal of Starfall is for students to learn phonetics. This leads to learning words which helps them read sentences. Once students learn a sound and/or word they can transfer this knowledge and read other texts (that include these sounds and/or words). For example, if students learn how to pronounce “en” and see the word “then” they can use this phonetic knowledge to help sound out the word.

Starfall exhibits low-road transfer because students repeatedly practice phonetics so that the prefix, suffix, and word sounds become automatic. These skills help them transfer the knowledge into situations where words have the same prefixes and suffixes that they are familiar with.
Starfall has elements of both Behaviorist and Cognitivist theories of learning, however as Spector notes “behaviorism...has been modified and subsumed within other perspectives rather than replaced in it’s entirety.” (Spector, Michael. 2012. Foundations of Educational Technology, pg. 69) We will demonstrate how Starfall uses a mostly cognitive approach to teaching children how to read.
The learner plays a game (Mayer's pre-training principle)
Reads a decodable e-book (modality, multimedia, coherance, and temporal contiguity principles)
Watches a short video(personalization, voice, and image principles).
Starfall uses what is best described by Bonner (1988) as the cognitive apprenticeship approach, where the computer is used as an intelligent tutor providing visual and audio clues to help the user solve complex problems i.e. learning to read through decoding. Starfall accomplishes this through the use of Mayer's multimedia learning principles, which take a cognitive approach to learning.
Long-term memory
Working memory
decay easily
Knowing something means it is stored in your long-term memory
We process information using working memory
Learning requires maximum use of our limited working memory

But working memory storage is very small
Only 7 +/- 2 chunks of information
Short term, loss easily
to acquire the information permanently, the learner needs to transfer the information to long-term memory
To process the information into long-term memory
learn the information for a long term period of time
e.g. read and repeat the target word/sound over and over again
Create connections between existing information and the data that is held in working memory and create schema
e.g. use animations and pictures from learner’s daily life
Building schema-Incorporate interacting elements into schemas and treated as single element using the environmental organizing and linking principle

Children & Cognitive Load

“Some children cannot listen to orally presented information and take notes at the same time-not because they are being noncompliant, but because they have only enough cognitive resources to do one or the other.” “Reducing the cognitive load in one area of the network frees up resources that other network processes can use.”

--Mind, Brain, and Education: Neuroscience Implications for the Classroom (The leading Edge Series)(p.96)2010-7-28

Reduce Cognitive Load
Cognitive Learning Theory & Starfall
The use of the Cognitive Learning Theory to teach the skills presented on Starfall is appropriate for this age learner and for the skills presented.
Skills build upon each other in a linear fashion
Students can go from learning letter sounds to learning word families. Then, they can use that knowledge to read stories & poems independently (auditory cues are available if needed)

Does the technology support the instruction?
Bonner demonstrates an outline to show how cognitive psychology and instructional technology compare (Bonner, J. 1988. Implications of cognitive theory for instructional design: Revisited, pg. 10), Within his outline, he discusses several main components which Starfall does quite well:
Task Analysis & Desired goals (learning phonetics)
Measurable skills (target sounds are practiced and applied)
Sequencing of goals (the skills are practiced independently at first, multiple times, then the application of the newly acquired skill takes place)
Starfall achieves the desired goal of teaching phonics skills to students using cognitive approaches in a very meaningful way. Students gain knowledge, build upon it, and learn to apply it to their decoding and reading skills in an engaging manner that is developmentally appropriate for the targeted audience.
Students learn different words using the suffix "en"
Worked example effect

"Worked example is demonstrated when students learn more by studying a problem and its solution rather than solving the problem themselves." (Sweller, 2007) For instance, in the first part "ABC", students are presented with examples of phonetics of letters and phrases. In the third part "It's fun to read", students can click each word to acquire the pronunciation. When students click the word and hear the sound of the word, it is presented as a worked example to demonstrate the problem rather than asking students to solve the problem by themselves. Then, students can follow the instructions and acquire the skill of reading the words at their own pace. When students study with a worked example, it reduces the number of interacting elements that need to be processed in their working memories. Studying worked examples allows students to accumulate the large number of schema associated with the reading skill. Once the reading skill schemas have been stored in their long-term memories, they will use this skill to read words or sentences correctly.
Examples of How Cognitive Theory Was Used
StarFall and Mayer's Multimedia Principles
Signaling is used primarily during the e-book portion of each lesson. Words that follow the phonetic pattern are often highlighted a different color. This guidance allows the learner to select the word and organize it based on the skill that was previously taught.
Cognitive capacity is increased through the use of modality, both visual and auditory working memory. Starfall uses the "cognitive apprenticeship" approach throughout each lesson, where the expert presents words both visually and with spoken sounds.
One area where Starfall could improve is by adhering more to the coherence principle. Some of the stories and backgrounds are too visually active, creating extraneous processing. This could have a negative effect on learning.
The use of modeling is prevalent as the student navigates through the story. Words are presented along with the voice of the "tutor" sounding out the words. Mayer's
multimedia principle
is evident, where the word
is paired with a picture of a man using a cane. Dual modality is achieved because of the high level of interaction taking place between student and tutor.
Starfall uses the personalization principles by the way it talks to the learner. Instructions are given informally by a human voice, and at the end of each movie it asks the learner if they liked it. This makes learning more personal and fosters generative processing.
Starfall uses a linear approach to instruction, where skills build upon each other.
In a typical lesson:
Lesson on the long a sound
Examples of highlighting
extraneous processing
"Did you like this movie?"
Description from the website:
"Starfall.com opened in September of 2002 as a free public service
to teach children to read with phonics
. Our
systematic phonics approach
, in conjunction with phonemic awareness practice, is perfect for preschool, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, special education, homeschool, and English language development (ELD, ELL, ESL). Starfall is an educational alternative to other entertainment choices for children.
Our method of instruction motivates children in an atmosphere of imagination and enthusiasm, provides opportunities for child-directed instruction,
and supports English language learners and struggling readers learning alongside their peers."
Starfall has four main parts:
This section focuses on individual letter sounds and gives an example word for each letter of the alphabet.
Our project focuses on the second section of Starfall. It teaches students prefix and suffix sounds, and then lets them practice whole words.
This section includes games and activities for students to explore while they practice reading skills.
The last section allows students to practice sentences and then explore books. Students can read aloud the book or listen to audio.
In Starfall, each phonic can be learned independent of every other phonics because there is minimal element interactivity between the learning elements.When information is low in element interactivity, the intrinsic cognitive load will be reduced and working memory can be devoted entirely to learning in each phonic. Moreover, lower element interactivity in intrinsic cognitive load will leave space for interacting elements due to extraneous cognitive load in working memory capacity. Low working cognitive load allows students to acquire these phonics quick and better, and incorporate them into schemas that can be treated as elements and stored in long-term memory.
Element Interactivity
The Isolated Elements Effect
Due to instructional procedures decreasing intrinsic cognitive load and students in the beginning level of reading do not acquire the expertise, the isolated elements effect is used in Starfall. Before asking students to read a whole word, each prefix and suffix phonic is presented in isolated element rather than interactive elements. Each element can be presented without reference to the other interacting elements. Once learned, the materials are presented again with practice in fully interacting rather than isolated form so that students can learn the interactions.
Intrinsic Cognitive Load
Extraneous Cognitive Load
Modality effect

When faced with two sources of information that cannot be understood in isolation, they can be presented in different modalities. For example, in the part "Learn to Read," students are presented with a partial word (e.g. __an, __ot) and a picture which represent the word (e.g. pan, fire). The word will be spoken when the picture is clicked. One source is presented visually, while the other source is presented aurally. Dual modality is present with the presentation of the picture of a word and the sound of the word. This kind of dual modality presentation of the presented word increases effective working memory and thus decreases cognitive load. Working memory includes an auditory loop for processing speech and a visual-spatial sketchpad for processing visual materials (refer to former slides). Even though written text included in the learning process may cause extraneous cognitive load. When students view the picture, they do not need to look at the text; the word and sentence is spoken to students and vice versa. This does not occur split-attention because students do not need to locate information. Therefore, no extraneous cognitive load is placed.

Extraneous Cognitive Load Cont.
According to the environmental organizing and linking principle, increases in knowledge result in decreases in element interactivity and complexity as interacting elements are incorporated into schemas that are treated as a single element. Intrinsic element interactivity can be decreased either by changing to a task with lower element interactivity or by increasing levels of learner expertise. When students with increasing expertise, the worked examples are replaced by problems with part of the solution to be completed by the students. As the example above, students need to complete the word with given letters to match the picture. The completion effect occurs when students are presented with completion of the problem. With further increases in expertise, reading of words is replaced by reading of sentences. (See picture below) This process of fading worked examples helps reduce students cognitive load when they are equipped with increasing expertise.
Extraneous Cognitive Load Cont.
Expertise Reversal, Problem Completion & Guidance Fading Effects
Intrinsic Cognitive Load
Extraneous Cognitive Load
Intrinsic Cognitive load refers to the complexity of the knowledge that is being acquired without reference to how that knowledge is acquired. (Sweller, 2007, p57) In Starfall, isolated elements effect and element interactivity effect are placed.
Extraneous cognitive load is under the control of instructors and so the interacting elements due to extraneous cognitive load can be reduced or eliminated by changing instructional procedures. This kind of cognitive load should always be reduced. (p63) Several extraneous cognitive load effects used in Starfall are discussed here.
Multiple opportunities are available for students to practice and apply their skills which leads to low-road transfer.
Is the technology appropriate?
Starfall uses visuals, auditory mediums, and animations that are age appropriate for the intended audience.
The animation & design is, for the most part, not over done, so it is not a distraction to the learning that is taking place.
Learners interact with the website to explore how sounds are manipulated to form words using the targeted word family.
As students strengthen their reading skills, they move on to more difficult tasks (ex: reading poems & stories) where they get to apply their knowledge.
The website does not automatically read the words aloud during these tasks, but auditory support is available if needed.
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