3 Redundancy Principle

The Redundancy Principle is one in which you want to avoid overloading the learner’s working memory.  Remember that your student can only process so much information.  Any additional information beyond the learner’s capacity will be lost.

Graphics + Narration is better than Graphics + Narration + Text

In the redundancy principle we are looking at situations where additional information is not needed for the student to learn.  These situations have a couple ways of showing themselves – The first way is when identical information is presented in two different forms at the same time.  The second way is when trying to enhance learning, the student is presented with additional information.

So why does this happen?  The learner will spend working memory resources to compare and coordinate the material, leaving less memory capacity for actually learning the material.

Here is a situation we have all seen before, but let’s watch a short segment of a presentation by comedian Don McMillan.

“Life After Death by PowerPoint” (0:38)

Why is this so boring and irritating? When we see text, we process it visually, but our brain translates the words to sounds, and does not process them as pictures.  So, it is important to note that when we read the information in a PowerPoint at the same time that it is spoken, we will attempt to relate and coordinate the information. This uses many of our working memory resources for learning, and this duplication is, in fact, extraneous to the learning process.  Because of this, it is better for the student if we eliminate one of these elements. 

But isn’t duplication of essential elements beneficial? Even though it may seem like giving information in multiple modes would be beneficial to the learner (more is better, right?), it actually can be harmful to the learning process.  Information needs to be processed by working memory, and we don’t want to create a situation where the student needs to coordinate information to process it. 

Redundancy Principle says People learn more deeply from graphics and narration than from graphics, narration, and on-screen text.
You don’t want to add written text to spoken text!!

We know that we learn better and more deeply from words and pictures than from words alone (Mayer, 2014). The Redundancy Principle adds to this, and tells us that [Graphics + Narration] is better than [Graphics + Narration + Text].

Exceptions – Of course there are exceptions to every rule….
It’s OK to use text with narration if:
* There are legal disclaimers or legal information that must be read by the learner
* You are emphasizing key points or phrases (keep text to a minimum!)

If you remember one thing from today’s Faculty Learning Corner, it needs to be that you don’t want to add written text to spoken text!!!!

Thanks for reading the FLC.  Next week is Spatial Contiguity!!

“Life After Death by PowerPoint” YouTube, Online, 14 September 2008, www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpvgfmEU2Ck

Mayer, R. (2014). The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning, Second Edition. New York City: Cambridge University Press.