Readings: E-Learning, Chapter 4 -- Applying the Multimedia Principle. pp 67-89


Read the Chapter. Write your response by Thursday. Reply to at least 2 people’s posts. At least one of your responses should be written after Thursday when everyone has had a chance to post. Ideally, you’ll participate on at least three different days.

What to Look for

@JMcDaniel @michyloo should add Important things about the chapter here.

I think @JMcDaniel did a great job summarizing the important parts of the chapter.

However, I’d like to take a few moments to ask the class to reflect, since this would be a great way to apply that what we learn in the chapter and linking it up to prior knowledge/experiences. This little excerpt from Dr. Fink is what made me consider adding reflective dialogue.

  • Recall a time where you’ve encountered a poorly executed multimedia method that was supposed to promote learning. Having read the chapter, how would you have made it better? Did your ideas differ from beginning the reading and now having finished the reading? What kind of multimedia effect would you have provided in this past experience/encounter?
  • Since we are all Master’s and/or PhD students in this course, consider a class/subject you may teach in the future. Regarding Table 4.2, provide an example and/or visual representation of each of the ways you could incorporate these into your course.

Things of interest…

According to Clark and Mayer (2011), words and graphics rather than words alone, a multimedia principle, is a well-known principle of learning. Learners are able to integrate the material with existing knowledge when the material is represented in words and images.

The authors stated that not all types of graphics are equally helpful. They cautioned against using decorative images; instead they suggested visuals that summarize qualitative relationships, illustrate changes in time and over space, and visuals that make intangible concepts visible and concrete.

Clark and Mayer (2011) suggested using specific graphics to teach each of the five types of content: principle, procedure, process, concepts, and facts. However, graphics can be used to show relationships among topics in a lesson or as lesson interfaces.

The authors preferred the knowledge construction. The explained the importance of guiding the learners to actively process the information by mentally connecting the images with the words; therefore choosing appropriate graphics is a must. Clark and Mayer (2011), showed studies where people that learned from words and pictures were 55% to 121% more successful than people that learned from words alone.

According to the authors, the multimedia principle works best with non-experts; because they need help in relating the text with graphic representations. Clark and Mayer (2011) concluded by stating the need to continue researching on types of graphics most effective for different leaners.


@acwetter I agree that graphics show a great representation for the topics being discussed so long as they are simple and too the point. Too many times I’ve seen how the graphics are over illustrated and can take away from the point of instruction being made. Because correct construction of the graphics helps with knowledge construction.

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Important Multimedia Principles

  • Clark and Mayer (2011) broke down the chapter very well in how different media can be incorporated into teaching and how if it isn’t delivered well it can be misinterpreted.

  • The thought of see one, do one, teach one kept being repeated to me as I read this chapter because it does seem that even though classroom material may be presented well, correlating it with visual aids makes it more meaningful.

  • Many times instructors build classroom material around graphic representation without giving much thought to certain thoughts and ideas that need to be learned.

  • According to Clark and Mayer (2011), selecting appropriate graphics will help the cognitive processing as they can further engage in active learning. I see this to be especially true in the medical field where diagrams and representations of the different organ systems can be depicted well with graphic representation.

  • Can graphics help promote learning? Most definitely! As long as they are clear, concise, and organized effectively.

  • As more classes are moving towards having e-learning components, it’s important for the instructors to deliver the information without just text. Multi-media learning that depicts text and graphics helps to engage the student in the material. Same as if we were sitting in a classroom just listening to a professor lecture…BORING! The instructor has to engage the students to help with transfer of knowledge.

  • I feel it’s also important that Clark and Mayer (2011) talked about knowledge transfer depending upon the experience of the learner. It is important for instructors to get a feel for how well their students can understand the material and what is the best way they learn.


I think @JMcDaniel did a great job summarizing the important parts of the chapter.

However, I’d like to take a few moments to ask the class to reflect, since this would be a great way to apply that what we learn in the chapter and linking it up to prior knowledge/experiences. This little excerpt from Dr. Fink is what made me consider adding reflective dialogue.

  • Recall a time where you’ve encountered a poorly executed multimedia method that was supposed to promote learning. Having read the chapter, how would you have made it better? Did your ideas differ from beginning the reading and now having finished the reading? What kind of multimedia effect would you have provided in this past experience/encounter?

  • Since we are all Master’s and/or PhD students in this course, consider a class/subject you may teach in the future. Regarding Table 4.2, provide an example and/or visual representation of each of the ways you could incorporate these into your course.

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You should edit the original post at the top. It’s a wiki so that you can edit it. Stick this text in there so that people who start at the top know what guidelines you have provided for the discussion.


I really enjoyed this chapter. I am huge on graphics, even if just a static frame on a PowerPoint presentation, because it really does add life to what the learner consumes. If for some reason a student cannot be hands-on or in the traditional classroom environment, formatting instruction to be an active learning environment online or in-person is ideal. Clark and Mayer (2011) repeat over and over in chapter four that graphics and text over text alone is more effective. I have always assumed it was just my preferred method of learning that I needed to see pictures, graphs or some sort of illustration to truly understand somethings that were being taught to me. Now, especially after reading Chapter 4, I see that it is because graphics + words = “understand[ing] material [where] students can engage in active learning” (Clark & Mayer, 2011, p. 71).

Being a college student since 2008, I’m sure there any many, many times where I have ran across poor multimedia presentations. As unfortunate as it is, some professors, truly imply the information acquisition metaphor of learning, which is not as effective as knowledge construction. Presently, I am taking Instructional Design at another university which will remain nameless. In this course, we are using a book that has lines and lines and lines and lines of words and I find myself feeling quite overwhelmed, especially since I have low knowledge in this area. The book would be much more effective in my opinion if it contained organizational graphics to “show the qualitative relationships among the content” (Clark & Mayer, 2011, p.73). Adding these would enhance learner knowledge immensely. Transformational graphics could also be useful since it describes a different processes.

###In providing information to learners about exercise, I would use the following types of graphics:

Procedure Graphic

Moving through Yoga Sun-Saluatations

Concept Graphic

Comparing Various Types of Exercises For Fat Loss

Fact Graphic

Exercises by Caloric Loss


I’ll provide a more substantive response later, but apparently I care much more about how people cite things that I would like to admit. I’m not asking that you go back and change this, but if you are going to quote something, you really should provide a page number. Not only because you’re /supposed to/, but also because someone might want to go see that quote in context.


I am a huge proponent of using quality multimedia applications in the training world. I agree with Clark and Mayer (2011), that novice learners (based on subject) can benefit more from the usage of multimedia. The beauty of utilizing this multimedia approach is increased the opportunity for the learner to relate to the subject and improves the chance of learning. It is thought that more experienced individuals, or experts (of the subject), can already visualize and relate to subjects they are reading about, making multimedia applications less useful.

On occasion I have experienced the exact opposite in my training programs. As a novice, I encountered one program in particular that had a lot of flash animation. It would auto-start with lots of movement and flashy colors which became confused with text on the screen, making it a distraction rather than a benefit to learning. If the designers simply made the animation so the user selected it to start (a rather simple fix) it could have increased the training program.

###As an Example

In my training world we use a lot of demonstration boards as seen below (this example is static, in our training programs they are dynamic).

This one illustrates a hydraulic system where an individual can see which failure will effect what component. It’s interactive, meaning you can select switches and buttons as you would in the cockpit to help learn the hydraulic system. This is a great tool to supplement textual learning.


Because even though the research has shown that graphics and text help the student learn better, do you think the instructors take into consideration the graphics they add to their presentations as a way to help facilitate classroom discussion?


I agree too that the novice learner usually benefits from multimedia presentations that likely include simulations of some sort based on their perspective career field. And in regards to animation that is over the top, the theory less is more sometimes should be figured in as well! Too much can distract the learner from the point needed to be made.


@pfaffman, @michyloo and I communicated via the messenger built into Discourse. It was a very effective way to communicate, especially since this is an e-learning class. Drawing upon the important ideas that were highlighted, it was decided to make the thread a little interactive by recalling past multimedia experiences and drawing information off of those and providing visual examples of how they would use them. Thanks for being patient in us getting everything posted for discussion!


The Chapter

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but for multimedia, we might change that to say a picture with words is worthwhile. Applying multimedia principles means that you should use words and graphics rather than word alone (Clark & Mayer, 2011). Why is this so? Clark & Mayer ( 2011) states that “Multimedia presentations can encourage learners to engage in active learning by mentally representing the materials in words and pictures and by mentally making connections between the pictorial and verbal representation. “ (pp. 71). Clark and Mayer already wrote about the dual processing that is available in the human brain in chapter 2. They stated that people have separate channels to process visual and auditory materials. I feel that using words and pictures also connects into that dual function of processing. In 502, we discussed different learning preferences. Some people prefer to learn with visual representations, while others are more linguistic. Using both forms can help learning actively process the information and retain it for later use.

My Examples

In the past, I have just seen graphics used to arouse curiosity or attention in online classes. I think it was more about using Gagne’s 9 events of instruction than it was about learning though the images. I developed an online class for the IDD program this past summer that was an ACT prep course. For our class, we had to provide images on each page. This image was an introduction to the punctuation section. I thought it was funny, and hoped that the students would see what a difference punctuation could make.

To improve my class that I developed, I would try to find images that would be more relevant to the content.

I think this graphic about the water cycle is a better image to include in a lesson. It has both the words and the process that is happening illustrated.


I think we all tend to forget that our brains can perform the dual function of processing. Knowing how people prefer to learn is an important point to remember because 1) we need to be able to connect with our students through learning and 2) our goal as educators is to promote transfer of knowledge and higher education.

I also took the class where you had to prepare an online course! It was definitely an eye opener when we had to use pictorial representations each week. I for one had to make sure that the graphics didn’t steer too far from the point being made through the posted lecture notes. This chapter and that class definitely go hand in hand!


##Chapter 4

I agree with Clark and Mayer in their statement that the instructor must enable and encourage a learner’s cognitive process. I have had many, many experiences with poor use of media. I was expecting the authors to at some point mention the importance of font choice. (It’s very difficult to read a course written in “Curlz” :eyeglasses: :smile:)

The multimedia principle is an important part of active learning. At work, I most often use screen capture and have recently found screencasts to be effective (though using a watch, try, test method doubles the length of the course). I am likely to use an interpretive graphic in the near future. This type of graphic makes a topic or concept visible. Visualizing a process like contrast phase enhancement is integral to understanding the right time to scan a patient. Graphic representations are of greater benefit to the novice than the expert. If the learner can’t “see” it in their mind, it is much more difficult to time an injection and scan (CT) in the correct phase.( Notice the difference in the appearance of the organs.)

These images are from the Radiology Assistant.


###Experience with Multimedia Methods

One area that I need a lot of learning is cooking. If it doesn’t start from a box, then I’m probably not making it. Most online recipes, as well as, traditional cookbooks provide the list of ingredients, steps for cooking, and a picture of the final product. Unfortunately, my finished product is usually very different. Before reading, I was thinking that adding some pictures, like some websites do, would make the recipes easier to cook, and it would keep me on track. The series of static illustrations would help me to see how the steps look along the way. Here is an example. One of my favorites! Then, as I read more about changing static illustrations to animations on page 84 in e-Learning and the Science of Instruction, I considered how the time-lapse videos that are shared on Facebook make following a recipe even easier. See the example below!

Cake Pops 4 Ways.Pin it for later:

Posted by BuzzFeed Food on Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Upon reflecting on the two ways to make recipes a better learning opportunity, I realized both include graphics, either representational or transformational. I also thought that the more difficult the recipe might be would lead me to work with the series of static illustrations. This would allow me to work at my own pace and look for relationships between ingredients. For simpler recipes, I would use the animations.

###Connection to Current Work

…it is not good enough to deliver information to the learner; instructors must also guide the learner’s cognitive processing during learning, thereby enabling and encouraging learners to actively process the information. An important part of active processing is to mentally construct pictorial and verbal representations of the material and the mentally connect them. (Clark and Mayer, 2011)

I currently work with elementary and middle school teachers in implementing effective mathematics instruction. Below, you will find Lesh’s Translation Model. This model shows the five modes in which students can represent mathematical ideas. You can see in the graphic below that arrows connect the five modes to one another. This graphic is used regularly for us to evaluate if we are providing experiences that make connections between the modes and if teachers are providing these opportunities for students. Many teachers reflect that they usually “hang out” in two or three modes, but do not regularly meet all five. During the reading tonight, I thought about how this could be applied to e-Learning. If I am able to connect to the virtual situation, manipulate an interactive component, view or create graphics, and connect those to verbal and written symbols. I could still meet the modes of learning.

_Cramer, K. Using a translation model four curriculum development and classroom instruction. Retrieved February 18, 2016, from Rational Number Project,

###Ways I Can Utilize Graphics to Teach Content Types

If I were to provide a content building course for math teachers to increase knowledge about fraction instruction, I could include the following graphics.

  • FACTS: Include a screenshot of a student sheet that could be used with students to implement a highly-engaging task
  • CONCEPTS: Include three screenshots of representing 1/2 using a number line, area model, and set model for fractions
  • PROCESS: Include a video (Educreations) of a student solving a fraction computation problem with verbal description from student
  • PROCEDURE: A diagram that shows the connections between fraction standards throughout K-8 instruction using a flow-chart format
  • PRINCIPLE: Use a cause and effect format for teachers to consider how they would respond to certain situations they may encounter with students


It looks like teachers could build any course around the 5 topics that you discussed. Do you feel that they can be used in any class?


I enjoyed reading this chapter and I found it very informative. While reading, I began pondering my presentations and methods for better practices. I had not considered presentations that I had attended that weren’t conducive to learning but I am sure I have been in a few. I started my educational journey in the day when colored chalk was cool and overhead projectors were the go to technology. When I watched a film, it was with a projector using actual film. White boards were innovative; I believe I first encountered these in my college classes. For the record, it really wasn’t that long ago but in terms of technology it is essentially light years.

##Experience of multimedia failure/success

I recently had to complete radiation training and the instructor’s computer was inaccessible at the beginning, so IT intervention was needed. As a result and for the sake of time, the instructor began drawing on the white board talking about protons, neutrons, and electrons while drawing a representation of an atom. That was fine until he started drawing rays and lots of squiggly lines talking about the effects of x-ray on an atom. It just looked like a bunch of green lines, circles, spiral lines, and dots. These concepts were not new to me but it was a little hard to follow with the erratic drawing. Eventually the technology was cooperating and what a difference! The drawing that he was showing made much better sense with the images in the slide show. The lesson went much better from there and it was so much more engaging with the representational and relational materials used at that point.

##Incorporating multimedia principles

I have done a few training presentations on augmentative communication and I use a slide show. I pack lots of information (terminology) into the slide show for people to refer back to. I have always hated the way it looked and I felt like it may be discarded and not used but I felt like I needed to leave the format the same. After reading the chapter, I plan to incorporate and use more organizational graphics to demonstrate the different communication paths and devices based on communicative levels as this might be a better representation. I played with this one (see below) and I like the arrow continuum look because I feel it implies a path and not a definitive or finite ending for the communication need. I will still incorporate representational and transformational graphics as they are very pertinent. I also always bring the actual devices for exploration as well.

######The only way I could get this graphic to display correctly was to use snipping tool.


Me too! I thought it was an informative chapter and I love multimedia and tangibles too! I love your graphics!

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That’s true but I still appreciate the graphics. They are just more engaging and helpful in mentally cementing the concepts. I also love using screenshots and snipping tool to explain something. I always use them to notify the IT department of an issue, I find this is most helpful and limits the verbal jargon I must use to relay the concern.

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