Principles for Teaching With Multimedia

Mayer’s Principles of Multimedia Learning

Dr. Rich Mayer of UC Santa Barbara is a prominent researcher of how people learn from text and graphics – or multimedia. He has developed and tested a number of principles for more effective instruction using multimedia materials. Read on to learn more, and for even more depth, use the video links to his presentation for the Harvard Initiative for Learning & Teaching at the bottom of the page. The link to the full video is included and worth watching. It includes examples of content from science and medicine.

Three Instructional Goals/Problems (Video)

  1. Reduce extraneous processing – don’t make extra work for your learners by including unimportant text or graphics
  2. Manage essential processing – avoid cognitive overload of the working memory
  3. Foster generative processing – aid your student’s sense-making and organization

Five Principles for Reducing Extraneous Processing

People learn more deeply… (Video)

  1. Coherence principle: … when extraneous material is excluded.
  2. Signaling principle: … when main ideas are highlighted.
  3. Redundancy principle: … from animation and narration without on-screen text than animation + narration with on-screen text.
  4. Spatial contiguity principle: … when corresponding words and graphics are placed near rather than far from each other.
  5. Temporal contiguity principle: …when corresponding graphics and narration are presented simultaneously.

Three Principles for Managing Essential Processing

People learn more deeply… (Video)

  1. Segmenting principle: …when narrated animation is presented in learner-paced segments.
  2. Pre-training principle: …from a narrated animation when they have had training in the names and characteristics of key concepts.
  3. Modality principle: ….from graphics and narration than from graphics and on-screen text.

Two Principles for Fostering Generative Processing  

People learn more deeply…

  1. Personalization principle: …when words are in conversational rather than formal style.
  2. Voice principle: …when the narration is in a human voice rather than machine voice.

The Bottom Line

“People learn better from multimedia messages when they are designed in ways that are consistent with how the human mind works and are consistent with research based principles.”

Quick Links to Topics from Mayer’s Talk

  1. Examples (including med/science) of the principles in action:
  2. Defines learning and multimedia learning:
  3. Describing and defining instruction and multimedia instruction, etc. :
  4. Five kinds of knowledge and the role of objectives and measures:
  5. Three kinds of learning outcomes:
  6. Three demands on learners during mm instruction:
  7. Words and Pictures vs. Words alone:
  8. Five ways to reduce extraneous processing:
  9. Three ways to manage essential processing:

***Taken from Rich Mayer’s talk for Harvard Initiative for Learning & Teaching