When we look at learning, in both the face-to-face classroom, and especially in on-line learning, an important aspect is Multimedia Learning (how we learn using words and pictures).
The definition of multimedia used here is that:
- “Words” include spoken text or printed text.
- “Pictures” would be illustrations, photos, animation, or video.
Multimedia learning then is an environment where an instructor promotes learning, using words and pictures, in a way that promotes learning by building mental representations to construct knowledge.
As we are looking for ways to make our courses better, it is important to know that we learn better and more deeply from words and pictures than from words alone. (Mayer, 2014)
It is also important to know the “three assumptions” of cognitive theory of multimedia learning (Mayer 2014):
|Dual Channels||Humans possess separate channels |
for processing visual and auditory
| Paivio (1986), |
|Limited Capacity||Humans are limited in the amount of |
information that can be processed in
each channel at one time.
|Baddeley (1992), |
|Active Processing||Humans engage in active learning by |
attending to relevant incoming
information, organizing selected
information into coherent mental
representations, and integrating
mental representations with other
|Mayer (1999), |
In using multimedia we want to make sure that our pictures are relevant to the words, and only present essential material. Making sure you are presenting what needs to be known, and not diluting it with “nice to know” material helps eliminate Extraneous Processing (cognitive processing which is not related to the instructional goal).
Over the next 12 weeks I want to help you to understand best practices in Multimedia Learning by looking at American educational psychologist Richard Mayer’s Multimedia Principles. Please tune in as we build our knowledge on what good multimedia learning is.
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Baddeley, A. (1992) working memory. Science, 255,pp.556-559.
Chandler, P,and Sweller, J. (1991). Cognitive load theory and the format of instruction. Cognition and Instruction, 8, pp.293-332.
Mayer, R. (2014). The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning, Second Edition. New York City: Cambridge University Press.
Mayer, R. E. (1999). Designing instruction for constructivist learning. In C. M. Reigeluth, Instructional design theories and models
Paivio, A. (1991). Dual coding theory: Retrospect and current status. Canadian Journal of Psychology/Revue canadienne de psychologie, 45(3), 255-287.
Wittrock, M. C. (1989). Generative processes of comprehension. Educational Psychologist, 24(4), 345-376.