Multimedia in Education: AD Potential in Guiding the Learner’s Visual Attention
The aim of this article is to present audio description as a technique of subtle gaze direction during the perception of multimedia material. Multimedia educational materials dynamically take over the educational market. Substantial research findings support their effectiveness; however, there are also arguments pointing at difficulties in the perception of multimedia materials. In this paper we focus on two potential sources of these problems. The first source we associate with the design of multimedia. There are a number of rules that need to be followed when designing multimedia educational materials, such as the rule of multimodality or the rule of time and space coherence. The second source of the diffi culties we assign to the complexity of multimedia which may result in cognitive overload. As a solution we postulate to introduce audio description as a technique leading to the unity of image and sound. Supporting arguments come from eye-tracking studies on audio description in the education of sighted people. For example, primary school children watching a film with audio description concentrated their gaze more on the object highlighted in audio description than the control group what helps in the learning content understanding. The research overview positively verifies the potential role of audio description as a subtle gaze direction in the multimedia education of sighted people.