University of Vermont

College of Education and Social Sciences

Doctoral Programs in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Laurie M. Gelles: Measuring The Effects of Repeated Practice and Relevant Multisensory Stimuli on Information Encoding: Implications for Educational Practice (2012-09-07)

Gelles, Laurie M. | Waterman 427A | 2012-09-07 | 10:00 a.m.

People are bombarded with multisensory stimuli.  Whether the desired reaction is prompted by a city billboard, cell phone ringtone, or video game, engagement is necessary.  Educational pedagogy focuses on increasing engagement and thus enhancing the learning process for all learners.  Multisensory learning has emerged as an important area of inquiry.  Determining how to best activate multiple senses during the learning process may lead to deeper, more meaningful learning.  While a significant portion of multisensory learning research has looked at connections between individual input modalities and learning, this study examined the relationship between the simultaneous administration of multimodal stimuli and learning a related motor task. 

This quantitative study used data collected from 48 full-time college students ranging from 18-23 years of age.  Participants interacted with a multisensory video game (Guitar Hero II), presented with either unisensory or bisensory stimuli, for approximately two and a half hours.  They completed the PANAS-X mood survey (Watson & Clark, 1994) both before and after their gaming session.  Accuracy scores were collected from game play, and survey responses were collected both pre and post stimulus session. Independent samples t-tests and linear regressions were run to determine answers to the following questions: 1) Does interaction with simultaneously administered relevant bisensory stimuli increase the ability of college-aged men and women to learn a specific task as compared to relevant unisensory stimuli?  2) Do individuals with a positive affect demonstrate higher levels of learning as compared to those with a negative affect?  3) Is there a correlation between a change in affect and learning a sensorimotor task?

Results indicated that bisensory stimulus has a statistically significant effect on a person’s ability to learn a related motor task (p = .002).  One’s affect does not seem to play a significant role in his or her ability to learn in this multisensory environment (p > .05).

Further study on this topic is requisite in determining the best way to integrate this type of instruction in our pedagogical practices in not only our existing school structure, but perhaps more importantly, our pre-service teacher and social service provider preparation programs.

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