Graspable Multimedia: A Study of the Effect of a Multimedia System embodied with Physical Artefacts on Working Memory Capacity of Preschoolers



Insignificant consideration in multimedia research has been given to the features that are associated with cognitive functioning in general, and working memory (WM) in particular for preschoolers. As correlational research works discovered a close association between WM and learning achievement, multimedia research works that are tapping into preschoolers’ WM not only has the potential to improve preschoolers’ academic performance, but also to close the gap in multimedia research on cognitive functioning. Baddeley’s WM and learning theories justifies the use of physical artefacts as an outstanding means to complete the set of sensory input for information processing in WM. Thus the researchers designed and developed a genre of multimedia that combined the physical artefacts. As physical artefacts graspable and manipulable for concrete experience, the researchers designated them as “graspable multimedia”. The researchers had conducted a research that inquired the potential of the prototype of such multimedia system, GraspLearn, into the WM of preschoolers. In the research, learning mode, GraspLearn and conventional multimedia (CLearn) systems were set as independent variable, WM capacity (WMC) as the dependent variable cognitive style (field-dependent and field-independent) as the moderator variables. Analyses on 248 preschoolers reveal that the GraspLearn system did not improve preschoolers’ WMC significantly more than CLearn. Interaction analyses by cognitive style with learning mode reports relationship between learning mode and did not differ by cognitive style. The culmination of such research drew a prognostic of the shortfall in capacity of the graspable multimedia in realm of cognitive functioning of preschoolers.