What’s in a Picture? – How to Prevent ‘Cognitive Overload’ in Your ELearning Modules

Ever wonder what the rules of engagement were for using graphics in eLearning? I see a lot of eLearning where graphics may be distracting FROM the content, instead of engaging the learner TO the content.

For example, should you use illustrations or high-resolution photos? Well, to be honest, you can use either, as long they are high quality, high-resolution, and consistent. Unfortunately, that means you have to make a choice between the two and use them consistently throughout.

Consistency is key when it comes to any type of learning, but in doing some research about imagery and cognitive learning, I stumbled across an article by Stephen D. Sorden of Mohave Community College/Northern Arizona University entitled, “The Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning”. In the article, he asserts:

“Multimedia learning happens when we build mental representations from words and pictures. The theory has largely been defined by Mayer’s cognitive theory of multimedia learning.”

“… They assert that people learn more deeply from words and pictures than from words alone, which is referred to as the multimedia principle (Mayer 2005a)… Multimedia instructional design attempts to use cognitive research to combine words and pictures in ways that maximize learning effectiveness.”

Similar to a computer hard drive that holds pre-accessed files in cache for faster access, our brains work similarly. Using a set template, with similar imagery, can work the same way in our cognitive thinking. For example, when selecting imagery you should try to follow these guidelines:

  • Select either illustrations OR photos for your module.
  • Ensure illustrations are up-to-date and not cartoon style images from more than five years prior.
  • Ensure photos are either horizontal OR vertical, but not both.
  • Ensure photos are either color OR black and white, but not both.
  • Ensure photos on the screen are 100% relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Align text and graphics on the screen to eye-level.

Did you know that within the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning, they have noted three memory centers in the brain: sensory memory, working memory, and long-term memory? Our ultimate goal for the learner is to have the sensory and working memories transfer to long-term memory.

“Mayer (2005a) states that sensory memory has a visual sensory memory that briefly holds pictures and printed text as visual images;… Sensory memory holds an exact sensory copy of what was presented for less than.25 of a second, while working memory holds a processed version of what was presented for generally less than thirty seconds and can process only a few pieces of material at any one time (Mayer 2010a). Long-term memory holds the entire store of a person’s knowledge for an indefinite amount of time.”

This is why it is critical to be consistent, relevant, and simple in our text and imagery. We do not want to lose the learner in a ‘cognitive overload’.

Only after this is accomplished in our module design and development will we see any results in our learning efforts, such as increased employee productivity. This is the end result Mayer referred to as Meaningful Learning.

“Mayer (2010a) argues that meaningful learning from words and pictures happens when the learner engages in five cognitive processes:

1. selecting relevant words for processing in verbal working memory

2. selecting relevant images for processing in visual working memory

3. organizing selected words into a verbal model

4. organizing selected images into a pictorial model

5. integrating the verbal and pictorial representations with each other and with prior knowledge.”

Before we wrap up today’s session, let’s talk a bit more about that ‘cognitive overload’. In an article by William Swann of MindLeaders, Inc., “The Impact of Applied Cognitive Learning Theory on Engagement with eLearning Courseware”, he states:

“Display of visuals and on screen text at the same time can overload the visual information processing system, but using the audio system for verbal information and the visual system for imagery is a more efficient division of labour (Mayer & Moreno, 1998b, p. 4). In short, words go better through the ears and images go better through the eyes.”

What does this really mean? Well, it ultimately translates to three things:

  • Text on the screen should not duplicate the audio narration exactly.
  • Text on the screen should not describe the image.
  • Text on the screen should not be in paragraph format, but in brief, key words related to the topic.

The reasoning for this lies in the split-attention principle. In summary:

“… the split-attention principle – can be evaluated individually through an additional comparison of two page designs. The first design is one that shows all linguistic content as text on the page, and, at the same time, provides full audio narration of the on-screen text. Associated imagery appears concurrently on the screen. In this design, text is being doubled, with the same words flowing through two modalities.”

These two modalities are the eyes and ears, forcing the learner to listen and read simultaneously.

Remember the .25 second from sensory memory and the 30 seconds from working memory? Within this time frame, you run the risk of cognitively overloading the learner, if your design does not follow the guidelines we reviewed above.

We hope you have found this information helpful for your future eLearning design projects. Until next time…

Top Law Schools

There is some debate as to which schools should compose the list of top law schools. There are a few schools that traditionally top the polls, but whether or not these universities are truly worth the cost is quite debatable. For those wishing to pursue a legal career path, though, it is important to know what these rankings actually mean.

The Three Tiers of Law School

Universities that offer a legal education are traditionally grouped into three “tiers” of fifty. The best schools are in the Tier One, followed by those in Tier Two and Tier 3. Traditional wisdom states that the best jobs to go Tier One students, while those in Tier 3 will have the most trouble finding employment. The most competitive bracket is Tier 2, with a number of public universities vying for prestige with some of the bigger-name American private colleges.

What Are the Top Law Schools?

As one might expect, the Ivy League is exceptionally well represented in the annual ranking of top law schools. Harvard, Stanford and Yale are traditionally near the top of the list. Columbia, the University of Chicago, and Berkeley usually follow not far behind, with schools like Cornell Law School, Duke, and Georgetown usually bringing up the remainder of the pack. These schools tend to have the best faculty, the most active donors, and some of the most competitive acceptance rates. Whether or not these schools are worth the price, however, is worth questioning.

A Realistic Look

Realistically speaking, the annual report of top law schools is incredibly skewed. Certain schools will always be in the top ten, and certain schools will never rise above the second tier. The quality of education at the top-tier schools is not necessarily better than that in the lower tiers, but the names certainly carry a certain cache with employers. Unless you wish to chase the top one percent of jobs, though, the top ten to fifteen law schools may not be worth the price of admission.

The Top Schools for Your Needs

For the majority of law students, the highest education value can be found in the lower top tier through the second tier of law schools. Most of these schools are reasonably priced, have stellar faculty, and can help a student land a job. While they may not have the name appeal of a Harvard or Stanford, most schools in the second tier also cost only a fraction of those schools’ overall price. If you wish to get a legal job in a given area, it is better to seek out a local school than to look at the annual rankings.

The list of the top law schools for one student may not be the same as that for another. The best law school will be one that is affordable for a student’s income, yet can still offer a competitive advantage. There is rarely a point in pursuing an education at an incredibly expensive institution if a student is not aiming for a top-tier job, and many students find that studying at a smaller university allows for a better focus on legal education.

The Importance of Fine Arts in the Classroom

Fine Arts is defined in the Encarta Dictionary as being, “any art form, for example, painting, sculpture, architecture, drawing, or engraving, that is considered to have purely aesthetic value” (Encarta, 2004). Though this definition is used in relationship with the arts in the regular world, in regards to teaching, fine arts is defined as a subject beneficial, not essential, to the learning process and is often phased out because of lack of time, little learning potential, and no money. Fine arts is simply seen as painting and drawing, not a subject studied by an academic scholar. Writer Victoria Jacobs explains, “Arts in elementary schools have often been separated from the core curriculum and instead, offered as enrichment activities that are considered beneficial but not essential” (Jacobs, 1999, p. 2).

What is missing in classrooms is the lack of teacher knowledge of the benefits of maintaining an art- based curriculum. Teachers “have very little understanding of the arts as disciplines of study. They think of the arts instruction as teacher-oriented projects used to entertain or teach other disciplines” (Berghoff, 2003, p. 12). Fine arts expand the boundaries of learning for the students and encourage creative thinking and a deeper understanding of the core subjects, which are language arts, math, science, and social studies. Teachers need to incorporate all genres of fine arts, which include, theater, visual art, dance, and music, into their lesson plans because the arts gives the students motivational tools to unlock a deeper understanding of their education. Teaching the arts is the most powerful tool that teachers can present in their classrooms because this enables the students to achieve their highest level of learning.

From 1977 to 1988 there were only three notable reports demonstrating the benefits of art education. These three reports are Coming to Our Senses, by the Arts, Education and Americans Panal (1977), Can we Rescue the Arts for American Children, sponsored by the American Council for the Arts (1988), and the most respected study, Toward Civilization, by the National Endowment for the Arts (1988). These three studies conjured that art education was very important in achieving a higher education for our students. While these studies proved the arts to be beneficial to the learning process, it was not until 2002 when the research analysis of Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development “provided evidence for enhancing learning and achievement as well as positive social outcomes when the arts were integral to students’ learning experiences” was taken seriously by lawmakers (Burns, 2003, p. 5). One study, in this analysis, was focused on the teaching of keyboard training to a classroom in order to see if student’s scores on spatial reasoning could be improved. It was then compared to those students who received computer training which involved no fine art components. This concluded that learning through the arts did improve the scores on other core curriculum subjects such as math and science where spatial reasoning is most used (Swan-Hudkins, 2003).

This study shows how one little change in the way students are taught through the arts can have a powerful impact on their learning achievements and understandings. Another study showed at-risk students who, for one year, participated in an art- based curriculum raised their standardized language arts test by an average of eight percentile points, 16 percentile points if enrolled for two years. Students not engaging in this form of activity did not show a change of percentile (Swan-Hudkins, 2003). Though this may not seem like a big increase, at- risk students were able to use this style of learning to better understand their learning style thus bettering their learning patterns. The most interesting case study in this analysis involved the schools of Sampson, North Carolina, where for two years in a row their standardized test scores rose only in the schools that implemented the arts education in their school district (Swan-Hudkins, 2003). Teaching the arts needs to be incorporated in every teachers daily lesson plans because, based on these studies, students who are taught through the arts raise their test and learning levels.

Due to the high volume of attention President Bush’s, No Child Left Behind Act, has required in schools, teaching the arts is left behind. Another reason for the lack of arts in the classroom author Victoria Jacobs explains, “Given the shrinking budgets of school districts around the country, art specialists and art programs have disappeared from many elementary schools” (Jacobs, 1999, p. 4). Fine arts are being seen as non-educational or an extra-curricular activity. Therefore, when there is a lack of money in school districts, this subject is easily being cut. Teachers need to find a way to incorporate the arts into the classroom rather than rely on outside activities and Jacobs suggests teaching “through the arts… with a means of using the arts successfully and in a way that it is not just “one more thing” they must include in the curriculum” (Jacobs, 1999, p. 4).

The arts can open the minds of students in ways mere reading and writing will never be able to accomplish. Yet, the point of teaching this subject is not to teach about the arts, but to teach through the arts. Jacobs explains,
Teaching though the arts requires students to engage in the act of creative art. For example they might draw a picture, write a poem, act in a drama, or compose music to further their understanding of concepts in content areas other than the arts. Teaching through the arts helps students experience concepts rather than simply discussing or reading them. This approach is consistent with educational theories that highlight the importance of reaching multiple learning styles or intelligences. (Jacobs, 1999, p. 2)

Teaching through the arts can be done in many different ways depending on the teacher’s interests, but truly is the only way to reinforce the students learning experience. In a time where budget cuts and new learning laws are being established, teachers need to be more informed and educated on the negative impacts of the loss of the fine arts programs.
Three, veteran teachers at a public elementary school did a case study which involved teaching through the arts. They believed “our students had to experience cycles of inquiry wherein they learned about the arts and through the arts, and that they needed to see teachers of different disciplines collaborate” (Berghoff, 2003, p. 2).

The study was based on teaching a history lesson unit on Freedom and Slavery through the arts. Ms. Bixler-Borgmann had her students listen to the song “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” in many different styles of music, such as an African-American Quartet, Reggae, and Show Tunes. She then incorporated this lesson into the importance singing played to the slaves at that time. Ms. Berghoff had her students read samples of African-American folk literature and write down sentences that made an impact on them while they were reading. She then incorporated those sentences into group poems. Ms. Parr explored two art pieces entitled, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and had the students talk about artwork by asking three questions: “What is going on in this picture? What do you see that makes you say that? What else can you find?” (Berghoff, 2003). She also had the students focus on the images, concepts, and meanings which the artists wanted to depict. Ms. Parr felt this would teach the students how to uncover the hidden meanings in other core curriculum subjects (Berghoff, 2003). After the study, the students were asked what and how they had learned from this style of teaching.

Many students wrote in their journals that working in multiple sign systems in parallel ways heightened their emotional involvement. They found themselves thinking about what they were learning in class when they were at home or at work. They noted that even though they had studied slavery at other times, they had never really imagined how it felt to be a slave or thought about the slaves’ perspectives and struggles. (Berghoff, 2003)

The students had learned more from this lesson because they were able to use all styles of learning and were taught from an angle which is rarely used, through the arts. “Studies indicate that a successful arts integrated program will use these components to guide student learning and assess growth and development (Swan-Hudkins, 2003). The students were able to learn based on abstract thinking and find the deeper meaning of the lessons prepared by the teachers.

“The study of the arts has the potential for providing other benefits traditionally associated with arts….arts has been linked to students’ increased critical and creative thinking skills, self-esteem, willingness to take risks, and ability to work with others” (Jacobs, 1999, p. 4). With these benefits, teachers can not afford to limit their teaching of the arts in the classroom. Teaching through the arts are the key elements of learning and the traits teachers strive to establish and reinforce in their students. By working through the arts, instead of about the arts, the students’ educational experience will be achieved in a different way than just teaching the standard style of learning. Former Governor of California, Gray Davis, noted, “Art education helps students develop creativity, self-expression, analytical skills, discipline, cross-cultural understandings, and a heightened appreciation for the arts” and that “students who develop artistic expression and creative problem solving skills are more like to succeed in school and will be better prepared for the jobs and careers of the future” (California Art Study, 2003, p. 1).

Exposing students to abstract learning will teach the students about logic and reasoning and help them grasp what might not be represented on the surface. Recent Reports from the National Art Education Association (NAEA) confirmed with Governor Davis when they reported “Students in art study score higher on both their Verbal and Math SAT tests than those who are not enrolled in arts courses (California Art Study, 2003, p. 5). Attached is a copy of the test scores of students in the arts and students with no arts coursework.

What is a better way to enhance a lesson plan than to add another dimension of learning than by incorporating different levels of teaching? A company that has the basis of focusing on different learning styles is Links for Learning, [http://www.links-for-learning.com]. This company understands the importance of incorporating arts into the classroom. Former Secretary of Education, William Bennet wrote, “The arts are essential elements of education just like reading, writing, and arithmetic…Music, dance, painting, and theater are keys to unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment” (Swann-Hudkins, 2002).

An example of the benefits of teaching the arts would be the study of a teacher who taught the water cycle lesson through movement and music. The students were introduced to the water cycle in the traditional style of teaching, reading and lecturing. Yet, in order for the students to fully understand the “experience” of being a snowflake, the students listened to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite (The Waltz of the Snowflakes) and closed their eyes visualizing the adventure snowflakes encounter on there way to the ground. A great side effect of dance is that “exposure to dances foreign to them (the students) helps them to understand and appreciate differences in societies. Their minds become open to new ideas and a different perspective. This understanding helps to eliminate possible prejudice, enriching the student and our society” (Swan-Hudkins, 2003, p.17). While the music was playing the teacher asked them questions, such as, “How are they going to land” and “What do you see as you are falling”. The second time listening to the music the students were asked to act out the water cycle through movement and dance. Teachers should know “a class that includes dance can make students feel empowered and actively involved in their education. In creating their own dance, students develop conceptional thinking, which is not always expressed verbally” (Swan-Hudkins, 2003, p. 17).

With these activities, the students were able to become part of the water cycle instead of just using their listening skills and trying to mentally figure out this lesson. The teacher also had the students write a poem using words they felt while they, the snowflakes, were falling to the ground (Jacobs, 1999, p.2). “The motivational powers of the arts are significant as this teacher explained, “Hooking a kid is half, if not more than half, the battle of learning. If you can hook them, then you can get them to learn” (Jacobs, 1999, p. 6). Teachers need to gain access to all styles of learning which can only spark their motivational powers.
Harvard Project Researchers Winner and Hetland remarks, “The best hope for the arts in our school is to justify them by what they can do that other subjects can’t do as well” (Swan-Hudkins, 2003, p. 18). Teachers need to gain a better education of teaching their students through the arts. Without the arts, teachers are limiting their students’ ability to use their entire thinking process, providing less opportunity for complete comprehension. Teaching through the arts is the most powerful tool that teachers can give in their classrooms because it enables the students to achieve their highest level of learning.

With the lack of attention art is getting outside of the classroom, teachers cannot afford not to incorporate dance, theater, visual arts, or music in their lesson plans. Fine arts is the core curriculums constant and most important companion. No child should be left behind, and teaching through the arts will reinforce this idea.


Berghoff, B., Bixler-Borgmann, C., and Parr, C. (2003). Cycles of Inquiry with the Arts. Urbana, 17, 1-17.

Burns, M. (2003). Connecting Arts Education Policy and Research to Classroom Teaching. Presented at The Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Chicago, IL.

California Art Study. (2003). Retrieved on April 18 from []

Encarta Online Dictionary. (2004). Retrieved on April 17 from http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_/fine%20arts.html

Jacobs, V. and Goldberg, M. (1999). Teaching Core Curriculum Content through the Arts. Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Ontario, Canada.

Swan-Hudkins, B. (2002). The Effect of an Elementary Fine Arts Program on Students’. M.A.Thesis. Salem International University. Salem, West Virginia.

Umbilical Cord Blood Banking – A Responsible Decision

By the end of this article, you should have gained enough new knowledge on this subject to be able to explain its main points to another person.

Are you pregnant with a baby?

You grab every offered book on the question of pregnancy. You donate no gemstone unturned. You want to be well learned. Openly.

Jason and his partner were no different. They stilt they had it all roofed-that is awaiting a few weeks before the pitched court of freedom. That is when a code on television tainted their lives. The code dealt with cord blood caching. Just another device, stilt Jason firstly. However, after intensive inquiries, there was no denying that cord blood caching was a main development, remedially dialogue. In detail, so positive were Jason and his partner that they definite to gather cord blood during the birth of their baby. Little did they grasp what an important decision that was? That blood would avert their baby’s life, many being down the line. Flex blood caching can be lifesavers for your family too.

From now until the now until the end of this article, take the time to think about how all of this information can help you.

What is flexing Blood saving?

Flex blood caching is a breakthrough in blood caching. It involves the collection and mass room of blood from the umbilical cord, which connects the baby to the mother in the womb. Discarding cord blood, along with the lasting umbilical cord and the placenta, was stock method. However, the discovery that cord blood is a plentiful trace of stem groups revolutionized remedial perception. Flex blood is now considered to have immense therapeutic amount. The best part is that these stem groups can be conveniently cool from the umbilical cord after birth, lacking hurting moreover the mother or the baby.

Flex Blood is an anodyne and ethical trace of stem groups

What makes cord blood stem groups so unusual? Stem groups have two sole capabilities. They can multiply to deliver more stem groups. A small number of stem groups can be nurtured to produce a substantial number. The stem groups can also transform into any mature adult group, potentially bountiful any flaw organ a moment ability at life. Stem groups are a priceless retrace. The umbilical cord on can be a plentiful trace of stem groups with diverse advantages.

– Stem groups can be certainly obtained from cord blood

– flex blood stem groups are a 100% reach for the patron, 50% reach for biological parents and 25% reach for blood allied siblings and grandparents.

– They are not tumorogenic

– Collecting umbilical cord blood does not hurt the patron in any way

Flex Blood saving is not emergent Stem group inquiries

Unfortunately, controversy surrounding budding stem group inquiries undermines the view of cord blood mass room and adult stem group inquiries. Distinct budding stem group inquiries where developing embryos are the trace for gathering stem groups, cord blood stem group inquiries only uses those stem groups discarded from the umbilical cord after the freedom of the baby. There is no debit of life, as moreover neither the mother nor the baby comes to hurt in any way. Flex blood stem groups are amply correct for therapeutic purposes.

Fairly aware views like cloning force younger stem groups. These stem groups are called budding stem groups and they must be damaged in order to pursue any inquiries. Flex blood stem groups are more mature and are called adult stem groups. They are not handy in controversial fields of stem group inquiries; hence donating cord blood does not violate any ethical standard.

Flex Blood saving: ability at Regeneration

The first umbilical cord blood transplant was done by Professor Blackman in 1989. Flex blood from a sibling was worn to avert a tolerant of François Anemia. Over the last two decades, umbilical cord blood has been worn to remedy more than 75 conditions plus cancers, bone essence collapses, low immune states, genetic disruption in metabolism, concern disease, stroke, many sclerosis and some autoimmune conditions.

The file is rising steadily.

distant from these uses, cord blood stem group inquiries has exposed talented outcome in concern disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and even diabetes. Stem groups can reproduce abandoned pancreatic bandanna which can squirt insulin. We may be able to destroy diabetes with just a shot of compatible baby stem groups from cord blood. The possibilities are relating briskly.

Flex blood from a family limb is haughty to stem groups from bone essence transplants because it doubles abilities of triumph. With ones own cord blood, or blood from a family limb, eliminates the abilities of collapse of reedmen. An unfussy decision in pregnancy can present a game trace of stem groups with no doubts about incompatibility. Flex blood caching presents an ability to renew the stem groups of the unnatural organ.

Everyday Misviewions about flex Blood saving:

Still cord blood is a priceless retrace, these repayment are not well known. A fresh inquiry, available by the Canadian wellbeing Association, prominent that more than half the hopeful parents had meager facts or misviewions about cord blood caching. The most customary misviewion was that cord blood donation could hurt the baby. The inquiry also prominent that an unfussy explanation sufficed to sway them about the advantages of cord blood donation. Impressed with the proof offered, thirteen states have accepted laws to help educate pregnant mothers and sponsor shared cord caching. Flex blood donation and preservation can now be conceded out at no ultra rush. Close family limbs of the patron then have access to correct reaches if the require arises.

How do you donate cord blood?

Flex blood caching starts before the actual court of freedom of the baby. Once you catalog with a cord blood cache, they forward you a kit, containing all the crucial gear for collecting cord blood, along with instructions for the presence doctor, imparter or attention employees. After severing and clamping the umbilical cord in the medium, place partum collection and mass room of the lasting blood from the placental end of the cord, follows. An unusual container carries the cord blood to the cord blood cache. Here unusual separators withdraw the stem groups in the blood. Mass room is at very cold temperatures. The baby suffers no debit or hurt through this method, as there is no blood collection from that end.

Pick the Right flex Blood save

The most crucial decision is to take the right reserved cord blood cache. This is a long-phrase investment. Make reliable that the cord blood cache has the finances and a long-phrase commitment to the pitch. Verify the accreditation of the organization and unreliable that they have a hygienic footprint best. Ask whether they mass the blood themselves or rely on a third revel to sponsor them. Make reliable that the blood will be offered speedily, lacking interval, when you require it most. You can also donate cord blood to a shared cache, which then uses the donated blood for tolerant awaiting reedmen. However, still you have no retrieve over the donated blood; you will have access to a bigger assemble of stem groups. In reserved caches, your cord blood is massed exclusively for your use.

Umbilical cord blood caching was relatively nameless two decades ago. Now cord blood caching is on the head of present remedial inquiries and reedmen. Flex blood caching is an anodyne and ethical trace of stem groups. Preserving cord blood is an action towards protecting the wellbeing of your baby, your family and our citizens.

Seeing believes, but sometimes we can’t all experience every subject in life. This article hopes to make up for that by providing you with a valuable resource of information on this topic.