Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine differences in audio and guided tour participants’ tour experience at a Canadian National Historic Site. Specifically this paper discusses how the type of tour (audio or guided) in which visitors participate during their visit impacts visitors cognitive load. Cognitive load refers to the burden placed on working memory when extraneous material must be processed. This paper posits that when visitors use a personal media device to take a tour their working memory is overburden thereby reducing their overall learning during their tour. Findings reveal that audio tour participants do experience greater cognitive load than guided tour participants and that this does impact their learning experience. The implications of these findings for site managers are discussed.

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Audio Versus Guided Tours at a National Historic Site: What’s the Difference?

The purpose of this study was to examine differences in audio and guided tour participants’ tour experience at a Canadian National Historic Site. Specifically this paper discusses how the type of tour (audio or guided) in which visitors participate during their visit impacts visitors cognitive load. Cognitive load refers to the burden placed on working memory when extraneous material must be processed. This paper posits that when visitors use a personal media device to take a tour their working memory is overburden thereby reducing their overall learning during their tour. Findings reveal that audio tour participants do experience greater cognitive load than guided tour participants and that this does impact their learning experience. The implications of these findings for site managers are discussed.