2.4 Mayer’s Multimedia Learning Principles

Another way to reduce cognitive overload, is to use Richard E. Mayer’s (2001) set of multimedia learning principles as a guide for designing digital media. These principles were developed based on the following concepts:

  1. People process information through two separate channels: auditory and visual (see Dual-Coding Theory).
  2. These two channels have limited capacity for storing new information.
  3. People use prior knowledge to make sense of new information.

Watch the following video to learn more about the multimedia learning principles or read the following blog post: Mayer’s Principles for the Design of Multimedia Learning.



Learning Activity: Evaluating Images Using Mayer’s Principles

 Activity Objective: Apply your knowledge of Mayer’s Multimedia Learning Principles by examining the design of an educational image. 

Activity Instructions: Using Mayer’s Multimedia Learning Principles as a guide, find an accurate or poorly designed example of an educational digital media image (e.g., infographic, meme, poster). Then, create an interactive image on Thinglink to highlight how it does or does not exemplify Mayer’s Multimedia Learning Principles (see example at the bottom of the page).  

Here are step-by-step directions:

  1. Find an educational digital media image.
  2. Go to ThingLink (www.thinglink.com).
  3. Upload the image.
  4. Select a place on the image to add a tag. Add text that describes how the image does or does not exemplify Mayer’s Multimedia Learning Principles.
  5. Select “Save” when you are done adding tags.
  6. Select the “Share” button and copy the link.
  7. Post your Thinglink image in the course Google+ Community with a short description.

Here is a rubric you can use as a guide: Rubric for evaluating Mayer’s Multimedia Design Principles.

Alternative Activity: If you prefer exploring audio or video, instead of completing the activity above, find an accurate or poorly designed example of an educational digital audio or video product. Share the product in the course Google+ Community and describe why it does or does not exemplify Mayer’s Multimedia Learning Principles.

  Thinglink image caption: Infographic explaining the Federal Aviation Administration’s new rules about use of mobile devices during all phases of the flight. This infographic features the signaling principle (use of colorful boxes to highlight important text), multimedia principle (use of words and visuals), spatial contiguity principle (corresponding text and images are presented together), and personalization principle (use of conversational text).

Return to Cognitive Load Theory

Button Text: Return to Cognitive Load Theory

Continue to Engaging the Learner