What Do Course Designers Need to Know About Multimedia Learning Principles?
Have you ever been asked to design an e-learning course, module, or interaction you knew wouldn't help the targeted audience?
I had a good discussion recently with a community member who was frustrated with her current e-learning project. Her client insisted that she—wait for it—sync all the on-slide text animations with the audio narration.
She tried to convince her client that this wasn't the best way to present the material. She sent them dozens of research articles, including Richard Mayer's Redundancy Principle, backing her claim. You know, the principle that tells us "not to add printed text to spoken text."
Unless your clients are instructional designers or educators, it's unlikely that research alone will be enough to help them see the light. Instead, you need something more tangible that brings the research to real-world examples. And that's what this week's challenge is all about!
Basic Principles of Multimedia Learning
The number of principles has increased a little over the years, but they’re still practical, common-sense guidelines for designing effective training. The big win for designers is having research-based evidence to guide and support the decisions you make in course development.
- Multimedia Principle: Adding Graphics to Words Improves Learning
- Redundancy Principle: Should You Duplicate Narrated Text on Screen?
- Contiguity Principle: Keep Graphics & Related Text Together
- Coherence Principle: Less Material For Better Learning
- Personalization Principle: Speaking to Instead of at Your Learners
More Principles of Multimedia Learning
- Split-Attention Principle: People learn better when words and pictures are physically and temporally integrated.
- Modality Principle: People learn better from graphics and narration than from graphics and printed text.
- Signaling Principle: People learn better when cues are added that highlight the key information and its organization.
- Segmenting Principle: People learn better when a multimedia message is presented in learner-paced segments rather than as a continuous unit.
- Pre-training Principle: people learn better from a multimedia message when they know the names and characteristics of the main concepts.
- Voice Principle: People learn better when the words are spoken in a standard-accented human voice rather than a machine voice or foreign-accented human voice.
- Image Principle: People learn better when on-screen agents display humanlike gestures and movements.
- Embodiment Principle: People do not necessarily learn better when the speaker’s image is on the screen.
Multimedia Learning Books by Richard Mayer
The Handbook is a massive collection of scholarly articles from the best-known experts in our field, perfect for anyone looking for a deep dive into cognitive science and technology-based learning. I prefer the Multimedia Learning book because it’s more practical with examples of each principle.
Note: You don’t need either of Mayer’s books to complete the challenge. There are hundreds of great resources (videos, articles, SlideShares, and presentations) covering each of the principles.
Challenge of the Week
This week, your challenge is to design an interaction to teach one of the principles of multimedia learning.
You can leverage ideas from previous challenges (tabs, quizzes, games, sliders, comparisons, etc.) as a starting point for your interaction.
Share Your E-Learning Work
- Comments: Use the comments section below to share a link to your published example and blog post.
- Forums: Start your own thread and share a link to your published example..
- Personal blog: If you have a blog, please consider writing about your challenges. We’ll link back to your posts so the great work you’re sharing gets even more exposure.
- Social Media: If you share your demos on Twitter or LinkedIn, try using #ELHChallenge so your tweeps can track your e-learning coolness.
Last Week’s Challenge:
Before you get started with this week’s challenge, take a few moments to check out the creative ways course designers use background video in e-learning:
New to the E-Learning Challenges?
The weekly e-learning challenges are ongoing opportunities to learn, share, and build your e-learning portfolios. You can jump into any or all of the previous challenges anytime you want. I’ll update the recap posts to include your demos.