· Information tools

These tools support the acquisition of information of the learning materials. They help you to get a message across, without interacting with your student (one way!).

There are plenty of opportunities to present information: text, photo, video, diagram … Some forms of representation are better than others to convey certain aspects of information. As text lends itself pre-eminently for an explanation involving abstraction. A diagram is then a better form to transmit cohesion and structures. Etc.

In addition to the message, there are other characteristics that determine the choice of the representation form:

The specificity is the degree of ambiguity, or the degree to which the representation leads to unambiguous interpretation. The line “near the plate lays cutlery” makes abstraction of the exact location of knife, fork and spoon relative to the plate. A picture or drawing, on the other hand, is quite specific in that regard. In case of high specificity you choose graphical representations and in case of abstraction you choose text.

The density is the amount of information which is included in the representation form. A picture displays a complete situation where a text would need much more time and space. A video is characterized by even a higher density. The power of the density may be desirable, but disturbing as well. Because of the multitude of information, the student can be distracted and the essence of the message can escape him. Also see: Signaling Principle of Mayer.

The reality proportion is the degree to which the representation corresponds with reality. This is important as the credibility and the recognition are essential for the message. A photo or video is preferred over a drawing or animation. A higher degree of reality is often accompanied with greater redundancy of information, so it is often difficult to grasp the essence of the message. The higher the skill level, the better the student will be able to cope with high realism, and an increasing realism promotes competency development.