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ERIC Number: EJ1087034
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1756-1108
Features of Representations in General Chemistry Textbooks: A Peek through the Lens of the Cognitive Load Theory
Nyachwaya, James M.; Gillaspie, Merry
Chemistry Education Research and Practice, v17 n1 p58-71 Jan 2016
The goals of this study were (1) determine the prevalence of various features of representations in five general chemistry textbooks used in the United States, and (2) use cognitive load theory to draw implications of the various features of analyzed representations. We adapted the Graphical Analysis Protocol (GAP) (Slough et al., 2010) to look at the type of representations used, the function of each representation, the physical integration of representations with associated text, the presence and nature of captions and labels, the indexing of representations, and the number of representations requiring conceptual integration on a given page. Results indicate that on average, in all five textbooks each page had at least four representations. Most representations served a 'representational' function, but a number functioned as decorative representations. Most representations were directly integrated with text, but some of the remaining representations were separated by a whole page from associated text. While many pages had an average of two representations that required conceptual integration with text or other representations, some pages had as many as six representations requiring integration. While using textbooks, learners can experience intrinsic, germane or extraneous cognitive load (Sweller, 1994). Our findings indicate that there are various features of representations that could help reduce intrinsic or extraneous cognitive load. However, we also found prevalent features of representations that imply high intrinsic cognitive load or are likely to lead to extraneous cognitive load. Implications for textbook authors and editors, textbook selection, instruction, and science teacher preparation are discussed.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: NSFDUE1156974