A Cognitive Load Theory Approach to Learner-Centered Design of Digital Instructional Media and Supporting Accessibility Tools.
development of computer supports to scaffold learning for students with cognitive and
emotional disabilities has been largely overlooked in the rise of the digital age.
However, with recent legislative changes, demands on many of these students have
increased, while instructional materials remain limited to static media (Graham, Harris,
MacArthur & Schwartz, 1991; Gribbons, 2008... read more). While certain strides have been made
towards providing support for the nearly 23% of the population who struggle with
illiteracy or learning impairments primarily through use of the internet, there has been
little initiative in the field of human factors (Gibbons, 2008). Consequently, existing
design guidelines remain vague and methodology for including universal accessibility in
the product development lifecycle for educational technology is limited, at best.
Furthermore, the cognitive demands placed on these students are often unmanageable and
consequently lead to deteriorating performance. This thesis argues for a human factors
approach to the design, evaluation, and implementation of technology in the classroom.
This work includes integrating features that promote universal accessibility in a
context that considers both content complexity and information presentation for the
greatest utilization of these features. It further suggests considerations of cognitive
load theory be applied to curriculum development in order to promote performance gains
for varied learners while pursuing active tasks of information acquisition, processing,
Thesis (M.S.)--Tufts University, 2011.
Submitted to the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.
Advisor: Daniel Hannon.
Committee: Chris Rogers, and Ethan Danahy.
Keyword: Engineering.read less