Teach and/or support learning
How students learn, both generally and within their subject/disciplinary area(s)
There are three principles important for understanding this topic:
There's quite a lot of evidence that informs this summary. You might like to read a review of reviews on multimedia learning which summaries a raft principles related to the cognitive theory of multimedia learning (see additional resources). Related to the multimedia principle, combining text and images has been shown to improve academic performance compared to using text alone (➕➕➕) 3 (➕➕➕➕➕) 2. These finding are robust across different levels of difficulty, domains of study, testing environments, and level of education 3.
For the modality principle, students who listen to an illustrated text compared to reading text demonstrated better learning outcomes (➕➕➕) 4. This evidence is robust and is stable across levels of education, whether static or dynamic images were used, length of the text used, and whether or not the image was labeled. There was, however, evidence for system-paced presentations over self-paced ones (➕➕➕➕) and when using simple images compared to decorative ones (➕➕➕➕).
For the redundancy principle, speaking some of the written text that students see is better than students just reading the text or just listening to instructors (➕➕) 1. The redundancy principle is more effective when presentations are system-paced (➕➕➕) (compared to self-paced) and when presentations display key terms (➕➕➕➕➕) (compared to reading word-for-word).
We can be moderately confident about the findings from the studies that inform this summary. Four meta-analyses inform this summary. One included 57 effect sizes from randomised controlled studies that included students from a variety of educational domains and levels 1. However, the authors reported high heterogeneity and noted a possible publication bias favouring published studies.
The second meta-analysis that informs this summary included 39 effect sizes from randomised controlled studies and included students from across a variety of educational settings 2. The heterogeneity of this study was high and no publication bias was reported. The third study included 23 studies that were either randomised controlled trials or quasi-experimental in design 3. The primary studies included in this meta-analyses were diverse, but the heterogeneity was high and the fail-safe N suggested that publication bias was a risk. The final meta-analyses that informed this summary included 86 effect sizes from rigorous primary studies from a variety of contexts and reported an acceptable heterogeneity result. The only concern was the effect adjusting the main effect for publication bias had (g=.38 changed to g=.20 when adjusting for publication bias).
1 Adesope, O. O., & Nesbit, J. C. (2012). Verbal redundancy in multimedia learning environments: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104(1), 250–263. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0026147
2 Ginns, P. (2005). Meta-analysis of the modality effect. Learning and Instruction, 15(4), 313–331. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2005.07.001
3 Hu, L., Chen, G., Li, P., & Huang, J. (2021). Multimedia effect in problem solving: A meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 33(4), 1717-1747. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-021-09610-z
4 Reinwein, J. (2012). Does the modality effect exist? And if so, which modality effect? Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 41(1), 1–32. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10936-011-9180-4
Noetel, M., Griffith, S., Delaney, O., Harris, N. R., Sanders, T., Parker, P., del Pozo Cruz, B., & Lonsdale, C. (2022). Multimedia design for learning: An overview of reviews with meta-meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 92(3), 413-454. https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543211052329