Richard Akinlofa
First Name: Richard
Surname: Akinlofa
Position: Research Student
Telephone: 01224 262477

Research project: An Investigation into the Cognitive Effects of Dynamic Interface Visualisations in Procedural Skills Acquisition.

: Professor Patrik O’Brian Holt, Dr Eyad Elyan

Summary: Previous research into the instructional benefit of dynamic interface visualisations has remained largely inconclusive. Dynamic visualisations have been shown to be beneficial for conveying novel procedural skills through Computer Based Training (CBT) systems by reducing extraneous cognitive processing loads. In contrast, other studies have argued that the passive interaction induced by dynamic visualisations may in fact produce an underwhelming or distracting effect, which reduces its overall effectiveness. Additionally, the exclusive models of modality-dependent and modality-independent cognitive integration processes have been used variously to describe learning from multimedia instructional interfaces in CBT systems. In our research, we combine these otherwise exclusive paradigms in a hybrid model of a modality-independent mental framework that can be overridden by the perception-action loop for describing the robust post-learning task performances usually observed in humans.

Our research methodology involves a mix of traditional empirical experiments to validate the learning domain variables and novel cognitive computational modelling using the ACT-R architecture. The application of the computational models affords novel insight into the intertwined role of cognition in observable motor skills as well as an explanation of the difference in task execution strategies attributable to instructional interface dynamism. Along the way, we have also implemented novel extensions to the base ACT-R 6.0 architecture to enable the possible modelling of 3-D human motor movements. The extensions we have proposed is based on a multidisciplinary approach that integrates mathematical models of human motor actions from neurophysiology research with the basic design of the ACT-R 6.0 Motor Module. A distinct advantage of our approach is its simple design, which allows flexible and accurate implementation of a wide range of human movements in the computational architecture.

We will validate our instructional design approach by implementing a predictive tool based on our hybrid model. A successful validation will lead to the establishment of a reference framework that can be applied to the quick assessment of proposed training curriculum as well as the design of effective CBT systems.


Akinlofa, O.R., Holt, P. O. & Elyan, E. (accepted). Domain expertise and the effectiveness of dynamic simulator interfaces in the acquisition of procedural motor skills. British Journal of Educational Technology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01364.x.

Akinlofa, O.R., Holt, P. O. & Elyan, E. (2012). Performance modelling of interface dynamism in motor skills acquisition. In N. Rußwinkel, U. Drewitz & H. van Rijn (eds), Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Cognitive Modeling (pp. 129–130). Berlin: Universitaetsverlag der TU Berlin.

Akinlofa, O.R., Holt, P. O. & Elyan, E. (2012). The acquisition of spatial navigational skills from dynamic versus static visualisations. In B. Cowan, C. Bowers, R. Beale & C. Baber (eds), Proceedings of HCI 2012, The 26th BCS Conference on Human Computer Interaction (pp. 298–302). Birmingham, UK: BCS. pdf