In this work, Mayer and Moreno ask the question, how can we avoid a trail of broken promises concerning the educational benefits of new educational technologies such as multimedia learning environments? In answering this question, they suggest a solution is to use instructional technology in ways that are grounded in research-based theory. They provide a research-based review of five principles of multimedia design. The argument has its strengths since empirical theory can give reliable conclusions if the experiments have been performed correctly. On this basis, one can accept the veracity of Mayer and Moreno’s arguments.
By studying the cognitive aspect of multimedia, they identify three main cognitive processes, selecting, organizing and integrating. This model based on the work of Mayer (1999), and five major principles have been derived by experimentation, based on this model.
1. The Multiple Representation Principle. It is better to present an explanation using two modes of representation rather than one.
2. Contiguity Principle. When giving a multimedia explanation, present corresponding words and pictures contiguously rather than separately.
3. Split-Attention Principle: When giving a multimedia explanation, present words as auditory narration rather than as visual on-screen text.
4. Individual Differences Principle: The foregoing principles are more important for low knowledge than high-knowledge learners, and for high-spatial rather than low-spatial learners.
5. Coherence Principle: When giving a multimedia explanation, use few rather than many extraneous words and pictures.
The work presents a very strong argument in favor of applying these principles when using multimedia for teaching, especially scientific subjects. It is based on the findings of major researchers in multimedia cognition, and so attains greater credibility by association.
The style is succinct, and the content is well organized, which enables the article to deliver the message authoritatively.
Mayer, R. E., & Moreno, R. (1998). A cognitive theory of multimedia learning: Implications for design principles. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91(2), 358-368.