- Mar 2022
Evaluations of the platform show that users who follow the avatar inmaking a gesture achieve more lasting learning than those who simply hear theword. Gesturing students also learn more than those who observe the gesture butdon’t enact it themselves.
Manuela Macedonia's research indicates that online learners who enact specific gestures as they learn words learn better and have longer retention versus simply hearing words. Students who mimic these gestures also learn better than those who only see the gestures and don't use them themselves.
How might this sort of teacher/avatar gesturing be integrated into online methods? How would students be encouraged to follow along?
Could these be integrated into different background settings as well to take advantage of visual memory?
Anecdotally, I remember some Welsh phrases from having watched Aran Jones interact with his cat outside on video or his lip syncing in the empty spaces requiring student responses. Watching the teachers lips while learning can be highly helpful as well.
In a study published in 2020, for example, Macedonia and a group of sixcoauthors compared study participants who had paired new foreign-languagewords with gestures to those who had paired the learning of new words withimages of those words. The researchers found evidence that the motor cortex—the area of the brain that controls bodily movement—was activated in thegesturing group when they reencountered the vocabulary words they hadlearned; in the picture-viewing group, the motor cortex remained dormant. The“sensorimotor enrichment” generated by gesturing, Macedonia and hercoauthors suggest, helps to make the associated word more memorable
Manuela Macedonia and co-authors found that pairing new foreign words with gestures created activity in the motor cortex which helped to improve the associative memory for the words and the movements. Using images of the words did not create the same motor cortex involvement.
It's not clear which method of association is better, at least as written in The Extended Mind. Was one better than the other? Were they tested separately, together, and in a control group without either? Surely one would suspect that using both methods together would be most beneficial.
the use of gestures to enhance verbal memory during foreign-language encoding.
Manuela Macedonia wrote her Ph.D. thesis on the use of gestures to enhance verbal memory for language acquisition.