For hundreds of years verbal messages - such as lectures and printed lessons - have been the primary means of explaining ideas to learners. In Multimedia Learning Richard Mayer explores ways of going beyond the purely verbal by combining words and pictures for effective teaching. Multimedia encyclopedias have become the latest addition to students reference tools, and the world wide web is full of messages that combine words and pictures. Do these forms of presentation help learners? If so, what is the best way to design multimedia messages for optimal learning? Drawing upon 10 years of research, the author provides seven principles for the design of multimedia messages and a cognitive theory of multimedia learning. In short, this book summarizes research aimed at realizing the promise of multimedia learning - that is, the potential of using words and pictures together to promote human understanding.
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Book Review: Multimedia Learning by Richard Mayer
By: Donald Hawkins
Classroom presentations have evolved from overhead projectors to multimedia presentations. It would not be difficult to identify a modern student who has encountered a negative experience with poor Powerpoint presentations. Common signs of a poor presentation include the use of paragraphs of text populating each slide. The assumption the teacher makes, is because the content is presented on the slide, then the students should be ingesting the learning. To accompany this poor style of presentation, the teacher will verbally recite each slide, with the purpose of reinforcing the learning.
These are all symptoms of poor use of multimedia learning. There are several major academic texts that present empirical research toward improving the fundamental use of multimedia for the use of learning. Richard Mayer’s Multimedia Learning presents scientific explanations for professors, teachers and trainers who create, design and deliver various forms of multimedia learning. The major question proposed is, Do people learn better when using multimedia in contrast to simple written text. Mayer’s cognitive theory specifically ascribes to a “Dual Channel Assumption” which basically assumes that humans have separate information processing channels for verbal and pictorial information. Students are limited in the amount of visual and auditory information that can be understood and retained. Mayer encourages teachers to change the way they think and teach with multimedia technology.
While there are many other books that reference this concept, Mayer’s work is a staple within the academic world of learning. While Mayer presents fundamental concepts that would improve every teachers use of multimedia, he also backs up his statements with data extracted directly from the classroom. This is a highly recommended text for teachers, specialists, designers and evaluators of seeking to apply effective multimedia technology in a wide variety of learning environments.
This is a classic in the field of instructional design. It is based on a series of empirical studies from the 1990s. Instructional design researchers should consider this and other similar works by Richard Mayer and his colleagues. A second edition of this classic was published in 2009.
The Promise of Multimedia Learning
What Is Multimedia?
The Case for Multimedia Learning
Three Views of Multimedia Learning
Two Views of Multimedia Messages
Two Metaphors of Multimedia Learning
Three Kinds of Multimedia Learning Outcomes
Two Kinds of Active Learning
Research on Temporal Contiguity
Student Learning is Hurt When Interesting but Irrelevant Words and Pictures Are Added to a Multimedia Presentation
Student Learning is Hurt When Interesting but Irrelevant Sounds and Music Are Added to a Multimedia Presentation
Student Learning is Improved When Unneeded Words Are Eliminated from a Multimedia Presentation
Multimedia Instructional Messages
How Lightning Storms Develop
How Brakes Work
How Pumps Work
A Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning
Three Assumptions of a Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning
Five Steps in a Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning
Examples of How Three Kinds of Presented Materials Are Processed
Research on Multimedia
Spatial Contiguity Principle
Research on Spatial Contiguity
Temporal Contiguity Principle
Research on Modality
Research on Redundancy
Individual Differences Principle
Questions about Multimedia Learning
Role of Learners Existing Knowledge
Role of Learners Spatial Ability
Principles of Multimedia Design
Five Questions About Multimedia
The Contributions and Challenges of Research on Multimedia Learning