Applying the Science of Learning: Evidence-Based Principles for the Design of Multimedia Instruction

By Bailey, Rachel
Mayer, R. (2008). Applying the science of learning: Evidence-based principles for the design of multimedia instruction. American Psychologist, November, 760-769.

Summary: This article combines the science of learning and instruction. After conducting numerous research trials, the author concludes that some multi-media led instructional strategies are more conducive to learning than others. In the article he highlights 10 effective principles of multimedia instruction. Here are his findings:

  1. Eliminate extraneous material.
  2. Highlight essential material.
  3. Present pictures and spoken words rather than pictures spoken words, and printed words.
  4. Place printed text next to the corresponding part of the graphic.
  5. Present corresponding graphics and words at the same time.
  6. Break a continuous lesson into learner-paced parts.
  7. Provide pre-training on the names, locations, and characteristics of key concepts.
  8. Present graphics with spoken text rather than graphics with printed text.
  9. Present words and pictures rather than words alone.
  10. Present words in conversational style rather than formal style.
Evaluation: The author’s findings make sense to me. I especially like number three, which reminds the instruction to not include all the printed words on a slide when given a presentation. This is too distracting for the listener and they have a hard time deciding what to focus on.  When I taught middle school, I noticed that students often put all the text on their presentation slide. This makes for a boring presentation for the listener. I also like number 10. If a presentation is more conversational, the learner is more likely to tune into what is being said. 

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