Title

English Language Learners' Cognitive Load and Conceptual Understanding of Probability Distributions after Using an Animated Simulation Program

Author First name, Last name, Institution

Jase Moussa-Inaty, Zayed University
Mark Causapin, Concordia College

Document Type

Article

Source of Publication

International Journal For Technology In Mathematics Education

Publication Date

1-1-2016

Abstract

The majority of university students in the United Arab Emirates are English language learners. As a country that has only recently established its educational system based on an American model, it has adopted English as its language for teaching and learning. Challenges related to the use of a second language have been noted and simple interventions such as the use of Arabic translations and glossaries have not shown reasonable effectiveness, suggesting that limited English language proficiency in itself is not the sole cause of learning difficulties. The challenge to understand and find a solution to this problem led to considering Cognitive Load Theory, which suggests that certain approaches to teaching may hinder learning because of unnecessary burdens on working memory. This theory has been previously used to explain how the additional language burden negatively affect second language learners. Within this context, a quasi-experiment was conducted where students were taught the concept of probability distributions using an animated simulation of a coin tossing experiment. Animated simulation was hypothesized to create lower cognitive load and thus result in better learning and higher test scores. Performance and cognitive load were measured throughout the study. Although it was found that using animated simulation was not associated with better fact and procedural retention, students performed better in a test of conceptual understanding. As predicted by Cognitive Load Theory, the researchers found a negative relationship between test scores and cognitive load, albeit weak. Nonetheless, the cognitive load of students using the animated simulation was lower for most of the duration of the experiment. Results are further discussed from a cognitive load perspective and future research directions are proposed.

ISSN

1744-2710

Publisher

Research Information Ltd

Volume

26

Issue

4

First Page

177

Last Page

189

Disciplines

Education

Keywords

animation, Cognitive Load Theory, ELL, ESL, simulation

Indexed in Scopus

no

Open Access

no

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