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CLEAP: Collaborative LEarning from Animated Pictures

CLEAP is a FNS funded project (2003 - 2005) carried out in collaboration with CRAFT at EPFL.
For the last two decades, learning from text and graphics has been extensively studied, so that the conditions under which graphics can improve conceptual learning have become clearer . With recent technology advances, computers now offer animated graphic devices, which seem attractive and efficient to instructional designers. However, the research carried out so far failed to establish the advantages of using animated graphics over static ones on learning. Among several problems, animations seem to increase the learners' cognitive load, hence reducing the cognitive resources available for learning.
The use of animations is not limited to user-system communication but is also often used in computer-supported collaborative learning. In these settings as well, the empirical studies have not confirmed the benefits that one could intuitively expect from the use of animations. This lack of positive results may be explained either in terms of cognitive load, as in user-system interactions, or may be used to the fact that peers use external representation to ground their mutual understanding.
The originality of this project is to investigate the same phenomenon from two different perspectives, mental models and social cognition. We do not set these two theories as two opposite hypotheses that experiments would prove to be right or wrong, but as complementary frameworks to interpret these experiments, namely in terms of shared mental models. The role of external representations in interactions, i.e. as part of language, is not in contradiction to mental models, but may explain how these mental models get internalized.
Our basic claim is that animation can effectively promote the construction of a mental model of dynamic systems since animation can depict the micro-steps of dynamic systems more easily than static graphics. However, the processing of animation induces a heavy perceptual and memory load. We assume that the cognitive benefits of animation can appear only if delivery features are designed in order to decrease this cognitive load by breaking down the continuous flow of animation in small chunks or by decreasing the information learners should maintain in working memory. In the first stage, this project will investigate three delivery features: the continuity of the information flow, the learner's control over the pace of animation and the permanence on the screen of previous stages of the animation. In the second stage, we will investigate whether the content of the animation should map the conceptual model or the events as they actually happen. Both the individual and collaborative setting will be used.

Contact persons: Cyril Rebetez and Mireille Betrancourt at TECFA- Uni of Geneva, Mirweis Sangin and Pierre Dillenbourg at CRAFT - EPFL

Main publications on this topic (for offprints send an email to Mireille Betrancourt):
Journal papers: Conference papers an posters Other related references:


Models of Learning & Computational Metaphors

Learning in Humans and Machines. Task Force 4: Situated Learning and Transfer
Multidisciplinary research program on learning in psychology and computer science. (European Science Foundation, ongoing). If you want to know more about the involvement of TECFA in this program have a look at a short description.
Or contact directly the LHM - WWW server . Funded by ESF
Contact: Patrick Mendelsohn

Help Systems for Learning


Implementation of a learning environment including pedagogical agents based on Artificial Intelligence techniques. (NSF Project 23 Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, ended 1995). See Overview for details.
Contact: Patrick Mendelsohn & Pierre Dillenbourg

RILKE: Help System for Technical Writing

Study the role of author-reader collaboration in technical writing. (Master Thesis ended october 1997). See HTML version of text (1997- in french) and WWW-MOO Interface of experimental device: Rilke
Contact: Sandrine Tognotti

De l'usages des cartes pour la mémorisation de textes dans un environnement d'apprentissage

Une comparaison de plusieurs modes de présentation de cartes topogragraphiques
Voir résumé du mémoire
Contact: Eric Berthoud

Hypermedia & Learning


DELTA project funded by EC in 1995.

VMDL: Virtual Mobility and Distributed Laboratories

VMDL (VIRTUAL MOBILITY AND DISTRIBUTED LABORATORIES) was an European DELTA project. The Swiss participation (see 1-2 "VMDL AND THE SWISS PARTICIPATION" [p. 2]) was financed by 'OFES (Contrat No. 94.0122). HCM Project funded by EC in 1995. See overview and research report

Les Evolutions du Monde (1996 - ...)

Une série CD-ROM, Internet et TV sur l'évolution du monde
Un projet en collaboration avec INCOPROM S.A. sous les patronages de l'UNESCO et du Conseil de l'Europe. Visitez le site Memo.


PanGea is a vast educational network of children and young people worldwide. Its principal aims are: The network is managed by Jean-Claude Bres, director of the Ecole Active of Geneva and upholded by TECFA. For details, visit the Pangea Site.

PNR 33 "Efficacité de nos systèmes de formation (oct 94 - nov 95)

Hypertextes et Apprentissage

Last update: April 2005