Online reading: A preliminary study of the impact of integrated and split-attention formats on L2 students' cognitive load

Al-Shehri, Saleh and Gitsaki, Christina (2010) Online reading: A preliminary study of the impact of integrated and split-attention formats on L2 students' cognitive load. ReCALL, 22 3: 356-375. doi:10.1017/S0958344010000212

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Author Al-Shehri, Saleh
Gitsaki, Christina
Title Online reading: A preliminary study of the impact of integrated and split-attention formats on L2 students' cognitive load
Journal name ReCALL   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0958-3440
Publication date 2010-09
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1017/S0958344010000212
Volume 22
Issue 3
Start page 356
End page 375
Total pages 20
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Abstract Cognitive load theory has been utilized by second language acquisition (SLA) researchers to account for differences in learner performance with regards to different learning tasks. Certain instructional designs were shown to have an impact on cognitive load and working memory, and this impact was found to be accentuated in a multimedia environment where there is a variety of interacting elements and tools that can lead to cognitive overload and consequently reduced learning outcomes. This study investigated the influence of split-attention and integrated instructional formats on students cognitive load and how they might facilitate second language online reading and vocabulary learning. Twenty English as a Second Language (ESL) intermediate students studying at an Australian language institution were randomly assigned to four conditions: SAND (Split-Attention No Dictionary), SAOD (Split-Attention with Online Dictionary), IFND (Integrated Format No Dictionary), and IFOD (Integrated Format with Online Dictionary). Subjects were asked to complete an online reading comprehension task in which subjects tested under the SAND and SAOD conditions were exposed to a typical reading text followed by comprehension questions, whereas subjects in the IFND and IFOD conditions were exposed to a reading text where the comprehension questions were physically inserted within the reading text. Under the SAOD and IFOD conditions, subjects had access to an online dictionary. Results showed that the integrated reading format was found to facilitate students reading comprehension more than the split-attention format. Also, students who had access to the online dictionary in the SAOD and IFOD groups performed better on the vocabulary test, but spent more time on the reading task than the other two groups. Furthermore, participants in the split-attention format group looked up more words than their counterparts in the integrated format group. The results of the present study have certain implications for multimedia instructional designers and ESL teachers. © 2010 European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning.
Keyword Cognitive load
Multimedia learning
Second language (L2) online reading
Online dictionary
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Education Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 11 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 24 Oct 2010, 00:02:36 EST