The Role of Multimedia Learning Theory and Digital Distraction in Learning and Instructional Design in Higher Education

The Role of Multimedia Learning Theory and Digital Distraction in Learning and Instructional Design in Higher Education

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-8208-7.ch006
(Individual Chapters)
No Current Special Offers


The instructional design and technology (IDT) field is broad and interdisciplinary which complicates the role of instructional technologists. It is reported that IDT studies mainly concern hard, computer-based technologies and there is a lack of studies about learning theories and design frameworks. Therefore, the present chapter starts with the introduction to the field of IDT in 21st century higher education. Second, it continues with defining multimedia learning theory with its design principles for online learning environments which is considered to be critical for learning in a digitally driven age. Third, the concept of digital distraction is introduced which is a critical issue for effectiveness and efficiency of online learning experiences. It is implied that the digital distraction of university students is at an alarming level. In sum, the present chapter deals with revisiting instructional and learning design concepts along with multimedia learning and digital distraction issues.
Chapter Preview


Main purpose of instruction is to help people learn and it is mainly described as the preplanned set of activities, information, and environment (place of instruction, methods, media, equipment, etc.) to facilitate learning some intended goals (Heinich et al., 1999). On the other hand, design, which is a creative process, (product design, branding design, software design, website design, print design, publishing design, environmental design, graphic design, animation design, ...) refers to the plan for achieving these goals. Technology, shape, color, and function each are means of realizing these goals. The general purpose of this chapter is to describe what design characteristics instruction must have to accomplish goals of learning in the light of digital, interactive, mobile, artificial, smart, self-driving information and communication technologies.

In her commentary, Johnson (2021) mentioned that the instructional design is the catalyst. Having a crucial role, instructional design defined as the systematic development of instructional specifications using learning and instructional theory to ensure the quality of instruction (Msstacymuse, 2020). More specifically, Instructional Design Central (2021) also suggests a definition of instructional design as the process by which learning products and experiences are designed, developed, and delivered. These learning products include online courses, instructional manuals, video tutorials, learning simulations. High quality instructional design is crucial for learning since it keeps learners focused, supports learning experiences and it provides the necessary steps to provide good quality instruction from the beginning of the process, through the development, design, implementation, and finally when you evaluate the process overall. A good instructional design helps learners retain knowledge. It also makes learning more efficient and more effective. Good instructional design considers how students learn and what materials, methods, and technologies will most effectively change behavior. It empowers students to reach their full potential in creativity, self-efficacy, and collaboration. Learners of the 21st century should know how to use their knowledge and skills. These learning skills can be summarized under the three main subtitles: information and communication skills, thinking and problem-solving skills, interpersonal and self-directional skills (Sahin, 2009).

There are several principles that can be followed when designing instruction for 21st century higher education:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Multimedia Learning Theory: A theory which deals with understanding and explaining how people learn from multimedia content.

Digital Distraction: A term which includes distracting attention of people by exposition of a constant stream of notifications or alerts from digital devices which can disrupt people to their work or other activities.

Multimedia Learning: A type of learning which entails building mental representations from words, pictures, affective and immersive learning content.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: