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e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning by Richard E. Mayer, Ruth C. Clark

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9.1. Break a Continuous Lesson into Bite-Size Segments

How can you tell that material is so complex that it will overload the learner's cognitive system? A good way to gauge the complexity of a lesson is to tally the number of elements (or concepts) and the number of interactions between them. For example, consider a narrated animation on how a bicycle tire pump works that has the script: "When the handle is pulled up, the piston moves up, the inlet valve opens, the outlet valve closes, and air enters the cylinder. When the handle is pushed down, the piston moves down, the inlet valve closes, the outlet valve opens, and air exits from the cylinder through the hose." In this case there are five main elements—handle, piston, cylinder, inlet valve, ...

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