Highlighting and Signaling
1. How did you feel watching the first video? Were able to follow what was being said? How about the second?
2. When is signaling or highlighting absolutely necessary? When is it not?
3. What apps and software are the best for creating videos in which the instructor can point the viewer to important information?
Many times it is difficult for viewers to focus on the part of the screen that the instructor is talking about. Take for example a list of ten bullet points. The instructor might ask the viewer to focus on bullet point six, but with nine other bullet points around, it is somewhat difficult to focus on just one. Most of the viewer’s attention might be focused on point six but since the other nine are still there so the viewer has no choice but to give them some attention. A worked out, complex, multi-step calculus or algebra problem is similar if presented all at once. Students have no choice but to use cognitive resources to filter out the steps that they have completed or the ones that they still have to do. Mayer (2009) suggests that when the frame is busy with multiple pieces of information, the presenter should signal the viewer to key areas of the screen. Mayer summarizes six studies that examine the effectiveness of what he calls the “Signaling Principle," or the use of highlighting, circling, or underlining of information. Five of the six studies produced positive effects on learning with an average effect size of 0.52, a medium effect. Highlighting can be done visually with a finger, a digital highlighter, blurring out other areas of the screen in editing, or any other method that helps filter out extraneous information and focus the viewer on what is important.