~Some simplified notes from Richard E. Mayer’s Multimedia Learning (2001)~
Coherence Principle 1: Student learning is hurt when interesting but irrelevant words and pictures are added to a multimedia presentation.
- Coherence: structural relations among elements in a message, such as the cause-and-effect chain in our explanations.
- Coherence effect: occurs when students better understand an explanation from a multimedia lesson containing less material that from a multimedia lesson containing more material.
- Multimedia: is any presentation in both words and media. (p 115)
- Topical Relevance: information that is related to the topic.(p 117)
- Conceptual Relevance: information that is related to an explanation of the topic.
- Seductive Details: interesting bu irrelevant material that is added to a passage to spice it up. Includes seductive text and seductive illustrations. Although seductive details is justified by the arousal theory (students learn better when they are emotionally aroused), Mayer feels that arousal theory is outmoded and may actually interfere with -knowledge construction by doing the following:
- may direct the learner’s attention away from the relevant material
- may disrupt the learner’s ability to build a cause-and-effect chain among the main steps
- may assume the theme of the passage comes from the seductive details and try to integrate ALL incoming information into a general framework
- All this leads to the conclusion: The cognitive theory of multimedia learning states that seductive details will result in poorer performance on tests of retention and transfer (p 117-119)
- Coherence effect for retention states that adding interesting but conceptually irrelevant material hurts student learning and should be eliminated to improve learning. It occurs in both paper based and computer-based environments. (p 120)
- Coherence effect for transfer states that adding interesting but conceptually irrelevant material results in poorer problem-solving transfer performance. (p 122)
Coherence Principle 2: Student learning is hurt when interesting but irrelevant sounds and music are added to a multimedia presentation
- Again, the arousal theory provides the motivation to implement interesting but irrelevant sounds into a multimedia presentation. (p 124)
- However, the cognitive theory for multimedia learning states that irrelevant sounds can compete with relevant sounds (such as narration) in the auditory channel leaving less capacity for paying attention to the narration. (p 125)
- Therefore, the cognitive theory of multimedia learning predicts a coherence effect in which adding interesting but irrelevant material, in the form of music and sounds, hurts student learning. (p 125)
- Coherence effect for retention states that adding interesting but irrelevant background sounds and music hurts student learning and should be eliminated to improve learning. (p 126)
- Coherence effect for transfer states that adding interesting but irrelevant irrelevant background sounds and music results in poorer problem-solving transfer performance. (p 127)
Coherence Principle 3: Student learning is improved when unneeded words are removed from a multimedia presentation
- The motivation for adding words and information is the information-delivery hypothesis: the idea that students learn more when they receive information via more routes (ex. in a text passage and illustration captions). (p 129)
- The cognitive theory of multimedia states that students given a multimedia summary will perform as well or better on tests of retention and transfer than will students given the summary along with the regular test passage. (p 129)
- Coherence effect for retention states that deleting extraneous words tended to help student learning. (p 130)
- Coherence effect for transfer states that removing extraneous text resulted in improved problem-solving transfer performance. (p 131)
- In the case of multimedia lessons, students tend to learn more when less is presented.
- The cognitive theory of multimedia learning helps explain this by stating that learners are actively trying to make sense of the presented material by building a coherent mental representation, so adding extraneous information gets in the way of this structure-building process. (p 132) Therefore
- do not add extraneous words and pictures to a multimedia presentation
- do not add unneeded sounds an music to a multimedia presentation
- keep the presentation short and to the point