Interaction with learners

Online learning is a burden for the deaf and hard of hearing

Here, we sought to study how a online learning environment, such as an online course, might affect participant groups differently in this study, with a focus on fatigue assessment and performance. We recruited participants from three separate groups, DHH participants, hearing participants and a control group. We applied different instruments at different times. The FAS and a visual arts literacy test at participant recruitment and a VAS at a post-task time. The visual arts literacy test was used to assess knowledge and understanding of visual arts language and codes, without the influence of subsequent experimental procedures. The three groups showed no difference in this knowledge, so we can assume that the putative differences in the post-task performance test would be due to how well they were able to acquire and process the information conveyed during the online course. The FAS was used to obtain an initial baseline of daily life fatigue and regarding the results of the FAS questionnaire, the DHH group revealed slightly higher rates, but no statistical difference was found between the three groups. The use of PSL was an important factor in the selection of participants due to the multimodal and bilingual nature of the teaching materials used in the online classroom. Here, this variable does not seem to have an impact on the DPSL in daily fatigue compared to the DHH group. As we found no statistically relevant differences between the groups, our FAS results differ from self-reported results previously described by groups of people with hearing loss, that is, hearing-impaired listeners who reported high levels of d listening effort in which the experimental design included the use of SAF39. In fact, prior literature indicates that, on a daily basis, DHH adults report consistently higher rates of fatigue associated with sustained visual attention combined with listening effort to take in environmental information and respond to tasks. cognitive.1,2,3,6,13. It is possible that the tasks that cause such fatigue are more strenuous (such as an online course) than the daily tasks experienced by our participants. Indeed, when examining VAS (mental and physical) scores, DHHs had the highest post-task fatigue scores and differed significantly from the control group. The DHH group has the closest maximum values ​​between mental and physical fatigue, indicating the relationship between the two dimensions of fatigue in a post-task moment involving cognitive demands.

Moreover, our results reveal an association between post-task fatigue rates and lower DHH performance scores. Optimal methods and tools used in the classroom, to direct and sustain visual attention, can prevent DHH students from losing visual attention and maintain connection to provided information that otherwise becomes tenuous, increasing mental fatigue potential.40. Again, the differences are significantly greater compared to non-PSL hearing participants. Here, and contrary to the results of the FAS, the PSL variable seems to have contributed to an increase in the mental and physical fatigue of the hearing group. Previous literature shows that individuals have limited processing capacity and must select relevant information from the multitude of sensory inputs available. This limitation is evidenced in the mechanism of attention processing such as divided attention with respect to the optimal allocation of resources between different sets of inputs by dividing or rapidly shifting the attentional focus, given the inability to process stimuli in one or more sensory modalities in parallel41. This process becomes more difficult with the quantity and complexity of component tasks, suggesting that dividing attention between simultaneous stimuli intensifies and recruits additional neurocognitive resources, and can lead to limitations in attention span and cognitive load management.17.20. Additionally, bilingual bimodal individuals might have experienced here code-mixing stimuli processing (speech and sign simultaneously) that is analogous to a cognitively demanding sociolinguistic code-switching in communication, i.e., it is more difficult to remove a second language when that second language uses a different modality15.41. PSL individuals might have tried to suppress PSL to pay attention to spoken language (or vice versa), attempting complete suppression of unselected language and thus experiencing higher levels of fatigue.

According to the literature, visuospatial attention is impaired by early hearing loss but, interestingly, research on gaming experience with DHH adults has proven that training peripheral visual responses in games (video games) has a important role in achieving better visuospatial attention control, that is, the type of response to play challenges could contribute to minor potential visuospatial distractions. However, in our online course, which differs markedly from a traditional classroom context, we recognize the inherent problems in the distribution of visual attention, since all the information conveyed was relevant, contrary to the studied effect of the video game experience, which manages to train visuospatial attention through a combination of relevant and irrelevant visual stimuli using Flanker tasks42.

We consider that, in our research, the increase in the effect of wandering attention and divided attention occurred in tandem with poorly designed teaching/pedagogical materials, namely the inadequate design of multimedia teaching resources.17,18,19,20. In fact, this effect was confirmed by the VAS fatigue scores, since we consider to have presented an ecological balance online learning situation that hardly meets the needs of DHH students, due to its problematic simultaneous input of stimuli, without caring about situations of interactivity between presenter and participant, pauses between contents, opportunities to evoke and consolidate information and diversity in the modality designed for content presentation (e.g., on-screen display elements).

Also highlighted previously, the times for carrying out the tests were, on average, similar in the 3 groups. These data lead to an inescapable analysis of the question of the duration of assessment moments in classes with DHH students because, in this case, no time limit was imposed to complete the task, and an extension period would not have positively influenced the test results for DHH: this group performed the worst of the 3 groups and had the highest fatigue rates.

From our analysis, the consistency of the results between the DHH and PSL groups also emerges: the levels of mental and physical fatigue in the post-task effort are related to lower performance scores, that is to say that the non-PSL users experience less fatigue and achieve better performance scores.

It is interesting to note that an innovative dimension of our study focuses on the situation of hearing participants who are PSL users, most of whom work as sign language interpreters. We showed that for slightly lower non-significant levels of daily fatigue (FAS), similar levels of fatigue are obtained after the task, compared to the DHH, as well as lower performance scores on the performance test. It is possible that this group (PSL) experienced similar cognitive overload and subsequent feeling of fatigue due to limitations in split attentional mechanisms. In other words, as they are PSL users and perfectly master the dimension of oral Portuguese, the integration of information via simultaneous multimodal channels made it difficult to understand the content of the online class.

It should be noted that the relationship between stress and burnout in sign language interpreters has been established in the literature confirming dimensions of burnout such as emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment.43. Although the work situation of interpreters may vary (e.g. daily working hours, different schedules, work location/setting), research has looked closely at some job demands that suggest possible predictors of stress and burnout. among interpreters in education, such as workload, responsibility, perceived control, and support from colleagues, among others. The survey shows that educational interpreters are subject to high work demands, which is consistent with the results of our experiments, as these 2 groups could have been affected by levels of distractibility with subsequent results on fatigue and scores. of test performance.

At the same time, our results are consistent with the literature review regarding the risk of ineffectiveness of poor or inadequate multimedia resources for the DHP population.17, 20. We also confirmed the need, according to the available literature, to optimize interactive cognitive tasks in multimedia instructional design, as they help to create a more flexible and engaging learning dynamics, different cognitive demands as well as the possibility of controlling the fatigue through breaks and recovery. time8,22,23,24,25.

Overall, our results indicate levels of mental and physical fatigue consistent with research in the field of deafness and cognitive load19,21,23,24and the consequent constraints on the maintenance of attentional mechanisms10.12 in demanding cognitive tasks. Together, our results seem to show that when DHH is asked to view the multimedia stimulus in the format presented in our research, there is a combination of factors that both negatively affect the apprehension of the conveyed information and simultaneously lead to increased levels of mental and physical fatigue. In line with previous research, our study sheds light on the mechanism of attentional division affecting hearing participants who use PSL (bimodal and bilingual) but this does not appear to interfere with non-PSL users, on rates of post-task fatigue or performance scores.41.

Given the frequent exposure of learning situations in online learning modality over the past two years with periods of confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we align ourselves with research in the field of communication technologies and multimedia educational materials for DHH students, who affirm the need to reconsider the limitation imposed by the combination of audio/video channels as indisputable assumptions on which the theories and principles of multimedia design are based14,17,18. Our results indicate a clear association between cognitive load and low performance, that is, each time the cognitive load increases, the apprehension and the memorization of the transmitted concepts decrease. In our study, in addition to the mental dimension, CL is also self-reported in terms of physical fatigue. These results are supported by the tenets of cognitive load theory and underscore the importance of prioritizing the assumptions underlying the cognitive theory of multimedia learning over the design of instructional materials that reduce CL, improving learning. effective learning.17,20,21,24,25.