Action cards are a great way to present new information in context in order to improve transfer, especially if budget is low. At the core of action cards, there is a narrative that presents information in a conversational style, which according to Mayer’s Principle of Personalization, manages to engage learners with the computers as a social conversational partner. Research on text cognitive processing shows that learners work harder when they feel they are in a conversation with an author, rather than just receiving information. Mayer’s research on social cues proves the same thing. Having social cues in a text (such as “I” or “you” and a conversation tone) will engage your learners in deeper cognitive processing.
Moreover, each slide presents just one simple idea which is easy to grasp for new learners. This way of chunking new information in very small bits is a very effective way of avoiding memory overload, which is a very common when designing content for novice learners.
Finally, new information is put into practice through basic but authentic interaction which replicate real-world scenarios. This improves transfer and elaboration of information, which improves retention.
The main components of the action cards are:
Content Cards, which presents new information in a conversational style, with each card presenting just one basic idea, easy to grasp, which is required later in the interactive cards;
Interactive Cards, which embed basic interactions, such as drag and drop, select of fill-in, which require learners to put into practice new information;