Many advantages are claimed for learning environments that use multiple external representations (like graphs, tables, animations, etc.) but research assessing their impact on learning has produced mixed results.
My main contribution to this project was to develop a simulation-based learning environment (DEMIST, Design Environment for Multi-representational Instructional Simulation Technology) as a research platform and use it for further understanding of the use of multiple representations. During the design process, particular attention was put on an architecture suitable for this kind of learning environment (i.e. supporting the authoring of models for the simulation, instruction and interaction), on the user interface, and on the implementation of the conceptual framework that underlies the project.
The DeFT framework (Design, Functions, Tasks) requires an extensive and flexible manipulation of design parameters such as number of maximum or co-present representations, degree of support for learners' translation across representations, etc. During this project, I also designed, ran and analysed lab-based experiments to examine the complexity of information processing faced by users when learning with multiple representations.