Some Best Practices in Learning Media Design

The following have been shown, through research, to improve learning with the use of multimedia/e-learning modules:

Use of relevant graphics (Multimedia Principle)

  • Drawing, chart, photo, diagram, animation
  • Non-decorative
  • Has greatest effect on novices
  • Realism not a factor in learning

Place text near graphic (Contiguity Principle)

  • Descriptive text
  • Labels
  • Brief explanations

Use audio instead of text to explain visuals (Modality Principle)

  • Most beneficial when visual is complex or involves several steps
  • Effective when user cannot control pacing of learning module
  • Non-extraneous sound

Redundant audio and text hurts learning (Redundancy Principle)

  • Graphic + audio is better than graphic + audio + text
  • Redundancy increases cognitive load

Use conversational language and learning agent (Personalization Principle)

  • A learning agent is an on screen avatar that addresses the learner
  • The agent need not always be visible once introduced
  • Conversational “I” and “you” more effective than indirect address

Chunk material into 5 to 9 topics (Cognitive Load Theory)

  • The human mind has limited working memory capacity
  • Novices can hold fewer ideas, experts more

Practice moves information to long term memory (Elaborative Rehearsal Theory)

  • Only through rehearsal/ practice do we encode to long term memory
  • Rehearsal involves active application of the content: practice
  • Quizzing and feedback is one form of rehearsal

Additionally, for slide design:

Use assertions instead of topics in slide titles (Assertion-Evidence Design)

  • Assert the main point being made in the slide
  • Complete the slide with evidence/explanation of the assertion