Accelerating Learning through Instructional Multimedia

Concurrent Session 1

Brief Abstract

Creating videos and other multimedia for learners in an online or hybrid environment requires skills that instructors need to shape effective learning environments.  Approaching these skills in a holistic manner embedded in course design helps ensure that instructional objectives and student needs are taken into account.


Debra Runshe is an Instructional Designer at Purdue University working in Teaching and Learning Technologies, a unit in Information Technology at Purdue. Her experiences working with teaching and learning technologies in academia and K-12 have been varied, from teaching to administration, from supporting instructors to participating in national endeavors as part of National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Education grants, and as a Carnegie CASTL Scholar. As an instructional designer, she assists faculty in redesigning their courses to improve student learning gains through a student-centered learning environment.
Christopher Mong is a senior instructional designer at Roosevelt University and a limited-term lecturer at Purdue University. He holds a Ph.D. in Learning Design and Technology from Purdue University and his research interests include problem-based learning, purposeful use of instructional technology, and gamification in education.

Extended Abstract

The quality of personal multimedia devices, such as smartphones, has progressed to the point where every-day devices carried in pockets can capture 4k movies and high-resolution images.  The fact that many of these devices can also be used to edit and publish multimedia means that an instructor can potentially capture, edit, and publish instructional media without necessarily needing an expensive recording studio, costly editing suites, and a powerhouse computer workstation.  In other words, many of the technological barriers for educational content creation have been reduced through the proliferation and normalization of high quality capture devices. While it is now easier than ever for instructors to capture multimedia, however, there are still many opportunities for improvement when it comes to creating educational content and  preparing it so that it can be effective for learners.

This presentation describes research-based principles for multimedia design. Instructors help reduce the cognitive load by applying these principles to the learning environment. An overview of the theory, practical applications and examples will be shared with participants.

In this interactive session, participants will be encouraged to ask questions and consider ways in which the strategies discussed could be implemented at their institutions and in their courses. Components of the presentation that will be discussed include:

  • Opportunities that may be available for dissemination of information about multimedia learning, i.e., workshops, webinars, cohorts, individual consultations

  • Results of research taking place in regard to multimedia learning related to course design, such as, Mayer’s Principles of Multimedia (2011)

Research-Based Principles of Multimedia Design

  • Reducing extraneous processing

      • Coherence principle: People learn better when extraneous words, pictures, and sounds are excluded rather than included.

      • Redundancy principle: People learn better from animation and narration than from animation, narration, and on on-screen text.

      • Signaling principle: People learn better when the words include cues about the organization of the presentation.

      • Spatial contiguity principle: People learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented near rather than far from each other on the page or screen.

      • Temporal contiguity principle: People learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented simultaneously rather than successively.

  • Managing essential processing

      • Segmenting principle: People learn better when a multimedia lesson is presented in learner-paced segments rather than as a continuous unit.

      • Pre-training principle: People learn better from a multimedia lesson when they know the names and characteristics of the main concepts.

      • Modality principle: People learn better from animation and narration than from animation and on-screen text.

  • Fostering generative processing

      • Personalization principle: People learn better when the words are in conversational style rather than formal style.

      • Voice principle: People learn better when words are spoken in a standard-accented human voice than in a machine voice or foreign-accented human voice.

      • Image principle: People do not necessarily learn better from a multimedia lesson when the speaker’s image is added to the screen.

Additional information from the research impacting course design

  • Design effects are stronger for low-knowledge learners than for high-knowledge learners.

  • Design effects are stronger for high-spatial learners than for low-spatial learners.

(Mayer, 2011)

During the presentation, we will provide clear descriptions and examples of each of these multimedia principles and lead discussions about their practical implementation across a variety of platforms.



Atkinson, Cliff.  (2004). The Cognitive Load of PowerPoint: Q&A with Richard E. Mayer [Web page]. Retrieved from  April 4, 2018.

Atkinson, C.. &. Mayer, R. E. (2004). Five ways to reduce PowerPoint overload. [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from   April 4, 2018.

Clark, R. & Mayer, R. E. (2016). E-learning and the science of instruction (4th ed). San Francisco: Pfeiffe

Mayer, R. E. (Ed.) (2014). The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Mayer, R. E. (2011). Applying the science of learning. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Mayer, R. E. (2009). Multimedia learning (2nd ed). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Sorden, S. D. (2005). A cognitive approach to Instructional design for multimedia learning. Informing Science Journal, 8. Retrieved from  April 4, 2018.