The Cognitive Case for Multimedia Learning

Posted by on Tuesday, January 26, 2010

HANOVER, GERMANY - MARCH 04:  A woman holds a ...
Having used a great deal of interactive media in every course I teach, it was an appealing challenge to create a presentation justifying the use of multimedia in the classroom. Recently, my school's Technology Planning Committee (TPC) shifted its focus (thankfully) to showcasing thoughtful uses of technology by classroom teachers. I was asked to gather exemplars and provide a rationale.

To be honest, I hadn't really thought too deeply about why multimedia is so effective -- instinctively, I just felt it had to be. Text with pictures and sounds must be better than text alone. But was I confusing simple engagement with meaningful learning?

Thankfully, there is a wealth of research as well as a generous number of individual teachers in my school. After consulting Richard E. Mayer's The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning, I was able to provide a research-backed framework for my fellow teachers to exhibit their exemplary lessons. We all came to the simple realization that effective technology usage can only be achieved via sound pedagogy:
"It's not the specific media that creates learning, it's the educational design that creates learning" (Mayer)
Below is a slide share of the presentation we delivered for the TPC. Beyond the research cited, clearly the most affecting portion of the meeting were the student voices featured, some of them amazingly confessional or deeply perceptive.

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Sarah Vaughn said...

All of us in education are struggling with how best to use new technologies in our classrooms. I feel, like you, that students are so pulled in by technology that it would have to be effective; this can not be enough of a reason however. Our job as 21st century educators is challenging and exciting for so many reasons- but especially because there are so many possibilities for learning with technology. Our lessons and projects need to bring in technology in a meaningful way so it is up to us to play with new things, discover what's available, and to work alongside our students to learn! I enjoyed watching your Slideshare presentation and will be looking for the book you have mentioned.

S. Bolos said...

So right, Sarah. The pull of "tech" for students will inevitably fade so we need to make sure there is something substantive about the design of the lesson underneath the flashiness.

Thanks for visiting. I plan on adding more multimedia to the slides to more faithfully reproduce the presentation.


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