While searching the Samford Library database for possible blog topics, I came across an article entitled, “The Role of Instructional Design in Persuasion: A Comics Approach for Improving Cybersecurity,” written by Zhang-Kennedy, Chiasson and Biddle (2016). The title looked promising. Instructional design? Naturally. Comics? Love them. Cyber-anything? Sure!
The authors discuss the use of instructional design principles and persuasion to improve safe behaviors related to security threats. Specifically they found that humans are the weak link in the chain when it comes to computer security technologies. The authors created an online interactive comic series called Secure Comics, and found that it was instrumental in improving the learner’s understanding and positive motivation in security management behavior.
How cool is that? But what really caught my eye was the section discussing personalization. Their definition of that word is the concept of “attributing social characteristics to the user interface,” and they went on to discuss the use of “a pedagogical character who offers instructional advice” (Zhang-Kennedy, Chiasson and Biddle, 2016, p. 220).
I know we’ve been using these “agents,” as the pedagogical characters are called, in animation since the beginning of the program. But I did not know the extent to which they are validated through research. People also learn more when the information is delivered in a conversational style, according to Clark and Mayer (2011).
Yes, yes, the point of the article is really the parallels between instructional design and persuasive principles, and is rich with ID discussions. They even name-check the ADDIE model! Since I love creating videos using Vyond, though, I’m delighted to see that characters don’t have to be just decoration–they actually make a difference in learning.
Mayer, Dow, and Mayer (2003) performed a series of experiments in multimedia learning to determine the effectiveness of an on-screen agent, Dr. Phyz (see above), who showed up to help learners understanding of an electric motor. They commented, “When designing a multimedia presentation that is intended to explain how something works (i.e.,a model), instructional designers should annotate the animation with spoken rather than printed text, allow the learner to control the pace and order of presentation, and encourage the learner to answer conceptual questions during learning” (p. 811).
Yet more evidence for engaging the senses in a multimedia presentation.
And lest you think those articles are outdated or that the subject is passe, Richard E. Mayer and others (citation below) have just published an article, March 25, 2019, entitled, “Getting the Point: Which Kinds of Gestures by Pedagogical Agents Improve Multimedia Learning?” The TL:DR version: ” In this study, students learned better and paid more attention to relevant material on the screen when the onscreen agent used specific pointing gestures during instruction rather than general pointing gestures, nonpointing gestures, or no gestures. Specifically pointing to relevant parts of the onscreen graphic while talking guides the learner’s attention and leads to better learning” (p. 1).
I plan to delve further into this area. Fascinating! And this information will definitely inform my final project, in which I had not planned to have an onscreen agent.
Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2011). E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. New York, NY: Wiley & Sons.
Li, W., Wang, F., Mayer, R. E., & Liu, H. (2019, March 25). Getting the point: Which kinds of gestures by pedagogical agents improve multimedia learning?. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/edu0000352
Zhang-Kennedy, L., Chiasson, S., & Biddle, R. (2016). The role of instructional design in persuasion: A comics approach for improving cybersecurity. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 32(3), 215–257. https://doi-org.ezproxy.samford.edu/10.1080/10447318.2016.1136177
Atkinson, R. K. (2002). Optimizing learning from examples using animated pedagogical agents. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94, 416–427.
Mayer, R. E., Dow, G. T., & Mayer, S. (2003). Multimedia learning in an interactive self-explaining environment: What works in the design of agent-based microworlds? Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 806–812.
Moreno, R., Reislein, M., & Ozogul, G. (2010). Using virtual peers to guide visual attention during learning. Journal of Media Psychology: Theories, Methods, and Applications, 22, 52–60.
Zhang-Kennedy, L., & Chiasson, S. (2014). Using comics to teach users about mobile online privacy (Tech. Rep. TR-14-02). School of Computer Science, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
Zhang-Kennedy, L., Chiasson, S., & Biddle, R. (2013). Password advice shouldn’t be boring: Visualizing password guessing attacks. APWG eCrime Summit, 1–10.
Zhang-Kennedy, L., Chiasson, S., & Biddle, R. (2014). Stop clicking on “update later”: Persuading users they need up-to-date antivirus protection. In Persuasive technology, LNCS (pp. 302–322). New York NY: Springer.
Zhang-Kennedy, L., Dorey, S., Mekhail, C., & Chiasson, S. (2014). Secure comics. Retrieved from http://www.versipass.com/edusec