A Possible “Catalytic” Effect of Multimedia Learning Content

A Possible “Catalytic” Effect of Multimedia Learning Content

Jim Ellis (The Open University, UK)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1933-3.ch008


Good design is critical for the success of e-learning tutorials and previous research has yielded various principles to guide practitioners. While the evidence for these are generally coherent, there are occasional exceptions and inconsistencies that cannot always be fully explained. One possible cause was thought to be a ‘seductive’ effect of some content; however, further research into this revealed its own microclimate of discrepancies. A new perspective—catalytic content—is presented here and this is described as material that is important, not because of its direct relevance to the learning outcomes, but because it supports the process of learning the material that is directly relevant.
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Multimedia Design Principles

There is no shortage of anecdotal evidence and folklore amongst practitioners about what makes good e-learning and there has been considerable research into various aspects of pedagogic design. One name that frequently crops up in the literature is that of Richard Mayer, most notably for devising a set of multimedia design principles (Mayer, 2001, 2005, 2009). Although there are a number of these (twelve in his 2009 book), five are most widely investigated and cited:

  • Multimediaprinciple: People learn better from words and images than from words alone (Mayer, 2001; Fletcher & Tobias, 2005).

  • Modalityprinciple: Visual and auditory information is more effective than either visual or auditory alone (Mayer, 2001; Low & Sweller, 2005).

  • Contiguity(or split attention) principle: Words and corresponding images should be presented spatially and temporally as closely as possible (Mayer, 2001; Ayres & Sweller, 2005).

  • Redundancyprinciple: Imagery and narration is more effective than imagery, narration, and on-screen text (Mayer, 2001; Mayer & Johnson, 2008).

  • Coherenceprinciple: Extraneous material should be excluded rather than included (Mayer, 2001; Moreno & Mayer, 2000).

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