New Media Applications: Slide Shows and Simulators
In the previous chapter, I detailed an application of the integrated model of cognition and rhetoric related to hands-on training and instruction related to a specific program at a given workplace. With the proliferation of new media and accessibility of it via the Internet and affordable technologies, many are developing instructional materials with digital tools that engage multiple senses. Slide show tools are used as visual aides within lectures and other learning environments, and simulators enable learners to interface with the particular environment in which they will work. Many of these applications involve training and learning toward helping someone understand information new to them. In this chapter, I provide further analyses applying the model relative to these two particular kinds of new media applications popular in education and trainingslide shows and simulators. I have used the particular cases I present in this chapter in previous publications that each had a different focus-production and assessment of them (Remley, 2010) and their use within a form of literacy sponsorship (Remley, 2014). New media integrates a variety of modes of representation in digital forms, providing multisensory experiences such as combinations of audio, video, and representations of spatial relations, so I apply the discussion of the new model to them here. For example, scholarship in multimodal rhetoric has considered the effective - ness of new media such as instructional video, PowerPoint slide show software, and virtual environments relative to their ability to facilitate learning and training. I describe specific applications of the model to simulators in this chapter to illustrate how the principles apply to these media. All of the technologies involved in simulators discussed in this chapter inte - grate varying degrees of virtual reality environments. Such environments attempt to engage as many modes of representation and related sensory experiences as possible toward helping one understand how to perform a given task under certain
conditions. As such, there is considerable scholarship in both the fields of multi - modal rhetoric and biological neuroscience that examines the use of simulators for cognitive tasks and cognitive development. The sensory experiences asso - ciated with each affects how close to an actual hands-on experience one has at that point in the learning process. While instructional materials and learning experiences may go beyond the simulator technology, I consider the particular multimodal rhetorical and neurobiological dynamics at work within the simulator experience. Studies are considering various attributes that affect the ability of a video product to facilitate learning and training. Video is used extensively in such cognitive tasks and integrates visual as well as audio and spatial modes of representation. One is able to see a demonstration of a given task, and that helps one understand to some degree the task and how to perform it. However, various attributes of design affect how well video facilitates cognition relative to a given purpose. I describe application of the model to a video derived from one of the simulation tools I discuss as well. In each case, I am limited to theoretical discussion of these dynamics, not having used any of the data-collection methods associated with tracking neural activity such as EEG or fMRI or 2-photon microscopes. The analysis tends to emphasize the social science/rhetoric attributes as well. However, I also indicate what kind of analyses may be appropriate with the information I have. Slide shows that include audio narration facilitate visual and auditory modes of representation and stimuli experiences. I provide discussion of a particular applica tion of the model to slide shows to show the emphasis on these particular modes and stimuli. However, simulator technologies can integrate more modes and stimuli. It is possible, for example, to mix media to integrate video into a slide show.