Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Gerry Swan


This study evaluated the effects of Narrative Simulation (NS) on learning and cognitive load. Specifically, it measured the potential differences in observed instructional efficiency when comparing a self-paced expository multimedia lesson to a NS lesson which involves a character-focused story with multiple decision inputs at key points.

This ex post facto design observed 119 participants consisting of preservice teachers from a large public university in the southeastern United States. They were divided into two sequence groups: (a) Expository Lesson Group; and (b) Narrative Simulation group. The Expository group received Expository Lesson One first, then Expository Lesson Two, and then Narrative Simulation. The Narrative Simulation group received Narrative Simulation, Expository One, and then Expository Two.

Upon entering learning management system, participants received the three lessons, each consisting of the following: (a) lesson content, (b) content assessment (c) NASA Task Load Index (TLX), a measure of cognitive load or perceived mental effort.

Statistical analysis reported (a) no statistical differences on perceived cognitive load across lessons (b) no statistical differences in the efficiency score across lessons, (c) no statistical differences on assessment score across Expository One and Two, (d) no statistical differences in the number of attempts needed to achieve a passing score when considering all assessments, (e) statistically significant differences from each group’s respective first attempt regarding cognitive load and efficiency, (f) statistically significant differences in the Narrative Simulation assessment score between groups.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)