Tool Use in Computer-Based Learning Environments: Advice and Cognitive Load

Mieke Vandewaetere
KU Leuven, Belgium

Jan Elen
KU Leuven, Belgium


Providing learners with control over tools in interactive learning environments (ILEs) is suggested to be effective in raising learners’ motivation and learning outcomes. However, research indicates that learners do not always adequately use the tools they are given control over. In an attempt to tackle this issue, scholars suggested providing learners with advice in order to support the tool selection process. This study focuses on the effects of tool-related advice on perceived cognitive load, learning gains and motivation. In an ILE on gamification, participants were randomly assigned to two conditions: learner control over tools and learner control over tools with additional advice. Their main goal was to create a mindmap on gamification with the availability of seven tools. Results indicate that advice does not have an effect on experienced cognitive load, motivation and learning gains. These results are related to the content of the task and tool-related perceptions.

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