New Media Technology Impacts
In an age of cyber literacy and a generation of immersed users of the Web, video games, online social networks, personal mobile technology and other interactive electronic environments, information processing has changed from a linear format, within a chronological progression, to a partially controlled chaotic format, with tracking achieved primarily through hypertextual nodes. This is anathema to the enforced linearity of most institutionally imposed hierarchical learning.
One of Ġorġ Mallia’s research interests is in mapping the process of this change. The results are often cognitive processing deviations, which then have social, educational and communicative manifestations. Hypertextual processing differs from more linear forms of processing in a number of ways, notably in attention and focusing issues. One of the offshoots of this is understanding how basic schooling, as well as higher level teaching methodologies may need to be modified to conform to new learning practices and take advantage of their strengths.
Another important offshoot is a rise in INFORMAL LEARNING, because this option is more amenable to hypertextual processing. Online whimsical searches and acquisition of information through social software interaction and other new media technology immersion has changed the breadth of informal learning, particularly self-directed and incidental learning.
The diffusion and multifocusing that are at the base of hypertextual processing, and the personalization, diversification and acquisition of general knowledge that infuse independent, flexible learning can create an amenable setting for the generalization and abstraction needed for effective TRANSFER OF LEARNING. Ġorġ Mallia has had a particular interest in the elusive phenomenon of Transfer of Learning since he explored its impact on literature teaching methodologies in secondary schools in his Ph.D research. The possibility of finding more bases for transfer in new technology influenced digital natives independent activities, than in formal scholastic settings, is of great importance to our understanding of how learning works.
Dr Mallia’s present research is based on the above hypotheses.