The Influence of a Pedagogical Agent on Learners’ Cognitive Load

October 29, 2017

According to cognitive load theorists, the incorporation of extraneous features, such as pedagogical agents, into the learning environment can introduce extraneous cognitive load and thus interfere with learning outcome scores. In this study, the influence of a pedagogical agent’s presence in an instructional video was compared to a video that did not contain a pedagogical agent. The results indicated no significant differences on a multiple choice learning outcome measure or on a perceived mental effort measure that was rated both after the instructional sequence and after completion of the post-test. In addition, no significant differences were found between groups in relation to their training efficiency or instructional efficiency. Accordingly, the position that the mere appearance of a pedagogical agent in the learning environment increases the cognitive load imposed by a learning task should be re-examined.

Journal of Educational Technology and Society