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  • Cited by 24
  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: June 2012

7 - Techniques That Reduce Extraneous Cognitive Load and Manage Intrinsic Cognitive Load during Multimedia Learning

Summary

WHAT IS MULTIMEDIA LEARNING?

Suppose you open an online multimedia encyclopedia and click on the entry for “pumps.” Then, the computer presents a narrated animation describing how a pump works. Alternatively, suppose you are playing an educational science game on your computer in which you fly to a new planet and must design a plant that would survive there. An on-screen character guides you and explains how the characteristics of the roots, stem, and leaves relate to various environmental conditions. Both of these examples – multimedia lessons and agent-based simulation games – are forms of computer-based multimedia learning environments. They are multimedia learning environments because they involve words (e.g., printed or spoken words) and pictures (e.g., animation, video, illustrations, or photos). They are computer-based learning environments because they are presented via computer. Our goal in this chapter is to explore research-based principles for improving the instructional design of computer-based multimedia learning.

We begin with the premise that research on multimedia learning should be theory based, educationally relevant, and scientifically rigorous. By calling for theory-based research, we mean that research on multimedia learning should be grounded in a cognitive theory of multimedia learning. In this chapter, we build on the cognitive theory of multimedia learning (Mayer, 2001, 2005a, 2005b; Mayer & Moreno, 2003), which is adapted from Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) (Paas, Renkl, & Sweller, 2003; Sweller, 1999, 2005). By calling for educationally relevant research, we mean that research on multimedia learning should be concerned with authentic learning situations and materials.

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