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The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning
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  • Cited by 98
  • 2nd edition
  • Edited by Richard E. Mayer, University of California, Santa Barbara
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Book description

In recent years, multimedia learning, or learning from words and images, has developed into a coherent discipline with a significant research base. The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning is unique in offering a comprehensive, up-to-date analysis of research and theory in the field, with a focus on computer-based learning. Since the first edition appeared in 2005, it has shaped the field and become the primary reference work for multimedia learning. Multimedia environments, including online presentations, e-courses, interactive lessons, simulation games, slideshows, and even textbooks, play a crucial role in education. This revised second edition incorporates the latest developments in multimedia learning and contains new chapters on topics such as drawing, video, feedback, working memory, learner control, and intelligent tutoring systems. It examines research-based principles to determine the most effective methods of multimedia instruction and considers research findings in the context of cognitive theory to explain how these methods work.


'This handbook should be required reading by every PhD student in instructional technology. Much of the research reported represents a model for the type of research that I believe should be done by these doctoral students and by their mentors.'

M. David Merrill Source: Educational Technology

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  • 21 - The Learner Control Principle in Multimedia Learning
    pp 487-512
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    Worked examples consist of a problem formulation and the final solution. This chapter elaborates on the worked examples principle. Example-based multimedia learning environments typically provide multiple representations and information sources. Coordinating the use of these multiples poses substantial demands on learners. The cognitive theory of multimedia learning of R.E. Mayer and the cognitive load theory of J. Sweller and colleagues both emphasize that learning processes are highly vulnerable to extraneous demands in multimedia based learning arrangements. Findings on worked examples provide a very striking confirmation of these assumptions. Three major limitations refer to restricted knowledge about learning from worked examples in classrooms, the boundary conditions of the instructional principles, and their interrelations. The chapter also outlines a set of instructional principles that usually lead to enhanced learning outcomes. More theoretical and empirical analyses are necessary to gain profound understanding of how the interplay between these principles works.
  • 22 - Animation Principles in Multimedia Learning
    pp 513-546
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    Multimedia learning environments present combinations of text, illustrations, narration, and animation and are typically computer-based. This chapter provides a brief review of the self-explanation principle, and introduces a framework for categorizing the number of ways in which self-explanation has been operationalized. While open-ended and menu-based approaches mark the two extremes, there are a number of ways of prompting students to self-explain that fall in the middle: focused, scaffolded, and resource-based prompts. Examples of each within the context of multimedia learning are presented. It presents a number of studies whose results support the hypothesis that self-explanation prompts that provide more focus or direction are particularly beneficial for multimedia learning environments, because they foster integration across multiple sources of information and help students to develop a single, coherent representation. The chapter also discusses implications for cognitive theory and instructional design and ideas for future work.
  • 23 - The Collaboration Principle in Multimedia Learning
    pp 547-575
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    This chapter discusses the generative drawing principle in multimedia learning. The generative drawing principle states that asking students to create drawings while reading text causes generative processing that leads to better learning outcomes. An important logistical issue when the generative drawing strategy is used is to create a form of drawing activity that minimizes the creation of extraneous cognitive processing by providing appropriate support for drawing. The studies reviewed in the chapter provide evidence for a positive effect of drawing. The results are also consistent with the cognitive theory of multimedia learning, which posits that people who engage in generative processes while learning are more likely than those who do not to construct meaningful learning outcomes. An important logistical issue for instructional designers when using the drawing strategy is to create a form of drawing activity that minimizes the creation of extraneous cognitive processing, by providing appropriate support for drawing.
  • 24 - The Expertise Reversal Principle in Multimedia Learning
    pp 576-597
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    This chapter explores the research evidence for the feedback principle in multimedia learning, to consider more complex learning environments such as simulation and game-based training, and to discuss the impact of the feedback principle on our theoretical understanding and implications for instructional design. According to the feedback principle in multimedia learning, novice students learn better with explanatory feedback than with corrective feedback alone. The theoretical rationale for the feedback principle is based on the cognitive theory of multimedia learning. Research in the area of simulation-based training (SBT) has also examined the effectiveness of feedback for improving performance and learning. When implementing explanatory feedback, instructional designers should take care not to increase extraneous processing by considering other multimedia learning principles, such as the modality principle. There is still much research left to do to define the boundary conditions of the feedback principle.
  • 25 - The Individual Differences in Working Memory Capacity Principle in Multimedia Learning
    pp 598-620
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    Multiple representations in multimedia learning play a complementary role when learners exploit differences in computational properties or information by switching between representations and selecting the appropriate representation for the task at hand. The functional taxonomy that serves as the basis of this chapter is one proposed by the author as part of the DeFT framework for learning with multiple representations. It suggests that there are three main functions that multiple representations play when supporting learning, namely complementary, constraining, and constructing functions. Complementary multiple representations support learning by taking advantage of the differences between representations. In summary, there is evidence that providing (or asking learners to generate) multiple representations that learners must systematically relate to one another can indeed help learners come to a deeper understanding of phenomena under investigation. The chapter also discusses implications for cognitive theory and instructional design.
  • 26 - Multimedia Learning of Cognitive Processes
    pp 623-646
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    This chapter describes a set of principles to be considered in the design of animation for use in multimedia learning resources. It then presents examples of some applications of these principles. The animation principles are grounded in research on perception, cognition and instruction, culminating in an account of the Animation Processing Model (APM). Animation in multimedia learning environments has multiple facets and can serve multiple functions. Dynamic perceptual schemata play a crucial role in the recognition of movement. The APM characterizes learning from animation in terms of five main phases in which bottom-up and top-down processes interact during the construction of a mental model that internally represents the referent subject matter. Learning from animation in multimedia learning environments raises important questions for cognitive theory with respect to visualization because it requires special attention to the interface between perception and cognition. The chapter also discusses implications for instructional design.
  • 27 - Multimedia Learning of Metacognitive Strategies
    pp 647-672
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    The collaboration principle in multimedia learning, which consists of three related sub-principles, determines when and under what conditions collaboration will positively affect learning in a multimedia environment. Flashmeeting is an example of multimedia collaborative environment that allows for tasks of various complexities to be carried out (Principle 1) and stimulates groups cognitive processes (Principle 2) by providing tools for real-time group work (with synchronous sound, pictures, text, etc.), a repository for sharing documents, and even recording facilities for the meeting, making information available to all participants asynchronously after the meeting has taken place (Principle 3). Collaboration in multimedia learning is effective when the distribution of tasks is such that the cognitive processes involved in carrying out the tasks and the products of those processes are complementary and/or supplementary. The collaborative principles in multimedia learning rest for a large part on hypotheses and assumptions about cognitive load.
  • 28 - Multimedia Learning and the Development of Mental Models
    pp 673-702
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    This chapter describes empirical findings associated with the expertise reversal principle, its interpretation within cognitive load theory, conditions of applicability of the principle, and its implications for research and instructional design. Cognitive science studies of differences between experts and novices have demonstrated that the knowledge base held in long-term memory is the most critical characteristic of competent performance in any subject area. It reviews empirical studies supporting the expertise reversal principle and shows that this principle has a plausible theoretical explanation within a cognitive load framework. An essential future research direction is that of identifying instructional designs and procedures that are optimal for different levels of learner expertise. Adaptive multimedia systems that tailor instructional methods to levels of learner expertise have the best potential for optimizing cognitive load in multimedia learning. Rapid diagnostic assessment tools could potentially be used as real-time measures of expertise for adaptive fading procedures.
  • 30 - Multimedia Learning with Simulations and Microworlds
    pp 729-761
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    This chapter examines ways in which technology can provide a medium for innovative design and the delivery of instruction that can result in new ways of learning and high levels of student engagement. Scaffolding can be a cognitive support for problem solving or motivational support to help learners realize their potential. BioWorld is a technology-rich learning environment designed to support medical students as they develop clinical reasoning skills. As stated earlier, the educational platforms are varied; they include pedagogical agents that serve as intelligent virtual tutors that employ language, facial expressions, and gestures to create effective learning experiences; simulation-based environments for promoting team effectiveness in trauma units; multimedia game environments to promote reasoning; virtual reality to provide immersive learning experiences; communication based video technologies to promote cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary teaching experiences; and social networking tools that are reusable for creating new knowledge.
  • 31 - Multimedia Learning with Computer Games
    pp 762-784
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    This chapter focuses on defining and illustrating multimedia learning of metacognitive strategies, and reviews the empirical literature on multimedia learning of metacognitive strategies. It provides suggestions for augmenting contemporary cognitive theories of multimedia learning, proposes empirically based principles for designing multimedia environments aimed at fostering metacognitive strategies, and recommends several areas for future research. The chapter specifies self-regulated learning (SRL) as a concept superordinate to metacognition that incorporates both metacognitive monitoring (i.e., knowledge of cognition or metacognitive knowledge) and metacognitive control, as well as processes related to manipulating contextual conditions and planning for future activities within a learning episode. More research on multimedia learning of metacognitive strategies is needed to determine the optimal length of various phases of training programs and their effectiveness in laboratory versus real-world settings, as well as the retention and transfer of strategies to other domains and computer-based learning environments (CBLEs).
  • 32 - Multimedia Learning with Video
    pp 785-812
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    This chapter reviews the literature on comprehension of media-based presentations to develop mental models of physical systems. It examines the representations and cognitive processes involved in understanding media-based presentations, the abilities and skills on which this understanding depends, and the effectiveness of different media for communicating different types of content. In reviewing how people construct mental models from media, it considers how people learn about the structure and functioning of physical systems from visual-spatial representations alone, including static and animated diagrams, and later reviews how they learn from combinations of visual-spatial and verbal representations. Iconic static diagrams can be effective for communicating the static structure of a system and can also be the basis for mental animation. Traditional print media, that is, static diagrams accompanied by text, can provide highly effective external representations to aid the development of mental models of dynamic systems.
  • 34 - Multimedia Learning in e-Courses
    pp 842-882
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    This chapter provides a systematic analysis of the links between intelligent tutoring systems (ITS) and multimedia, and identifies the multimedia elements that are used by different ITS applications. It discusses the implications of ITS findings for cognitive theory and instructional design, identifies limitations of existing research, and provides some directions for the future. Problem-solving tutors typically use a mixture of text and graphic media. Simulation-based ITS remain popular, particularly for tasks that are tightly linked to an operational environment, such as power plants, aviation, or military exercises. Game-based tutoring systems make use of the widest range of media to present content, especially those that combine elements from natural language tutors and simulation-based tutors. Research on advanced learning environments has investigated multimedia factors that have obvious links to deeper levels of cognition, such as feedback, learner control, and generation of information, interactivity, reflection, animation, simulation, and affect.

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