An Overview of Multimedia Learning Principles
An Overview of Multimedia Learning Principles
LTAT – UVic – August 2016
For some background you might watch these three videos:
Remember that you can adjust the playback speed to match your needs.
To get a bit of background in learning please view: Born to learn (4:55)
To prepare yourself to understand the reading you might view: How to optimize students' learning? Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (5:30)
This third video is a bit longer but gives nice examples of 13 classic principles of multimedia learning (20:20)
…It’s not perfect —I really don’t care for some of the signaling, but it provides a lot of good examples.
You might also read the following summary of research-based principles for designing multimedia instruction – by Richard Mayer
Here are some other resources if you are interested:
The cognitive theory of multimedia learning sorden.com/portfolio/sorden_draft_multimedia2012.pdf
Another summary of mml principles and learning design principles. mathewmitchell.net/multimedia/mml/
Or listen to Mayer tell you about studying Multimedia Learning in his lecture (1h24m) www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ3wSf-ccXo&feature=youtu.be&t=23m32s
Finally if you are looking for a comprehensive resource you could refer to Mayer’s 900+ page book “The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning” through the UVic Library at: ebooks.cambridge.org.ezproxy.library.uvic.ca/ebook.jsf?bid=CBO9781139547369
Here is my attempt to summarize the principles presented in the above readings and videos. Note that these principles aren’t hard and fast rules – they are tentative, theory-driven, evidence-based, guidelines that are evolving, overlapping and very much dependent upon the learners and material involved.
Reduce extraneous processing (avoid wasting cognitive potential with noise and clutter):
Coherence principle: Eliminate extraneous material, seek consistency & harmony
Signaling principle: Highlight essential material using words or other visual cues
Redundancy principle: Limit text – please don’t present text and read it aloud
Spatial contiguity principle: Put labels and comments adjacent to the visuals that they describe – don’t make the viewer track across the screen to connect things.
Temporal contiguity principle: Keep aural and visual content aligned in time
Manage essential processing (avoid cognitive overload):
Segmenting principle: Break down the instruction into manageable, well-organized chunks so that the learner can assimilate and accommodate new information at a reasonable rate and is prepared for the next material.
Pre-training principle: Introduce new concepts, labels and characteristics before the lesson that connects them so that the learner can keep things sorted out. Provide an outline too.
Modality principle: Use narration (aural channel) and limit print/text to avoid overloading the visual channel and balance the presentation
Foster generative processing (encourage engagement and effort which leads to understanding and transfer)
Personalization principle: When narrating, use a conversational/inclusive voice rather than a formal voice – so that the audience will feel some connection to you and attend better
Voice principle: Use a real human voice rather than a machine voice
Embodiment principle: Use gestures and movements to help develop social presence
Image principle: Don’t include an image of a person on the screen unless it is adding something (see also: coherence, embodiment, signaling, or personalization)
Design and individual differences principles that are being examined by researchers and some evidence supporting them has been collected (I’ve combined a few):
Cognitive aging/working memory principles: Include structures and mnemonics to assist those with weaker working memory (including older folks)
Collaborative principle: Most people learn better when they collaborate in positive ways (possibly linked to social presence)
Guided discovery principle: Some guidance is helpful in discovery learning (unless the user is more advanced – then they can guide themselves)
Navigation/Site map principles: People get less flustered when they know where they are and where they are going
Prior knowledge principle: Some principles that work well for novices, impede expert learners
Self-explanation/drawing principles: People learn better when they are challenged to explain or draw their understandings
Worked-out example principle: Giving complete worked examples supports learner confidence and interest (sometimes – but it can certainly be overdone too)
Animation and interactivity principles: Static visuals/images are often just as effective as animated or interactive visuals
Feedback principle: People learn better when they are provided with timely/substantive feedback on their performance or activity
Multiple representation principle: Sometimes folks learn better from multiple representations – sometimes it can be overwhelming…
Learner control principle: Only advanced/well-motivated/mature learners typically benefit from having control over the sequence and presentation of the material.
Multimedia principle: People learn more effectively from words and graphics than from words or images alone