Applying the Multimedia Principle: Using Words and Graphics
Rather Than Words Alone is a chapter from the book e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Prove Guidelines for
Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning by Ruth Colvin Clark and
Richard E. Mayer. This chapter provides evidence for whether learning is
improved in e-lessons that types of visuals that best
promote learning. The main question that this chapter focuses on is: Do visuals
actually make a difference? Based on cognitive theory and research evidence,
the authors recommend that e-Learning courses include words and graphics,
rather than words alone. It is recommended to covert work into multimedia
presentations (referring to a presentation that includes words and
graphics). The rationales for
these recommendations are that people are more likely to understand material
when they can engage in active learning (p. 57). Multimedia presentations can encourage learners to engage in
active learning by mentally representing the material in words and in pictures
and by mental making connections between the pictorial and verbal
representations. Below is a list of types of graphics and the type of content
best used with: (p. 59-61)
Decorative: Visuals added for aesthetic
appeal or for humor.
Representational: Visuals that illustrate
the appearance of an object and best used with facts and concepts.
Organizational: Visuals that show quantitative
relationships among content and best used with facts and concepts.
Relational: Visuals that summarize
quantitative relationships and best used with information portrayed as a
Transformational; Visuals that illustrate
changes in time or over space and best used with information portrayed as a
process, procedure, and a principle (cause/effect).
Interpretive: Visuals that make
intangible phenomena visible and concrete and best used with information
portrayed as a process and a principle (cause/effect).
Other recommendations include applying this principle for novices
- those who have low knowledge in this area. Additionally, static illustrations
should be used unless there is a completing instruction rationale for animation (flash);
for example, when explaining illustrations. This chapter stated that learning
is improved by the use of relevant graphics combined with words to present
instructional content but some questions. I believe that
these principles can be used for more than just e-Learning, they can be used to create any
type of training or learning. Multimedia presentations are more stimulating
to learners. Two questions I would consider for further
investigation are: When is animation more effective than a static graphic? Does
color in visuals make a difference - are learners more motivated? Word Count: 415Reference:
Reference: Clark, R. C. & Mayer, R. E. (2008). e-Learning and the Science of
Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
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