Learning with Redundant Multimedia Materials: One Size Does Not Fit All

Jacqueline Wong

Prof. Sola Adesope who is a Boeing Distinguished Professor of STEM Education at Washington State University will be giving a presentation on multimedia learning at Erasmus University Rotterdam on Tuesday, 10 April, from 1600-1800h.

In the presentation, Prof. Adesope will describe his program of research on multimedia learning and cognitive load. He will discuss the findings of a meta-analysis and results from empirical studies that follow up on the effects of verbal redundancy. In addition, future directions for research and the need to translate findings of research on multimedia learning into policy and practice will be put forth. For more information about the talk, please refer to https://www.eur.nl/en/essb/events/dpecs-colloquium-learning-redundant-multimedia-materials-one-size-does-not-fit-all-2018-04. We hope to see you on 10 April!

A Short Overview of Verbal Redundancy in Multimedia Learning Environments: A Meta-Analysis

Advancement in technology has enabled instructional materials to be presented as on-screen texts, images, video, audio, and animation. There are many different ways in which information can be presented and it is common to watch a video with audio narration. According to Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) and Dual Processing Theory of Multimedia Learning (DPTML), when the same information is simultaneously presented in both written and spoken form (i.e., spoken-written presentation), such as read along books and animations with subtitles, there is verbal redundancy. Research examining verbal redundancy had yielded mixed results. In view of the mixed results and to better inform multimedia learning theories guiding instructional design, Adesope and Nesbit (2012) conducted an extensive meta-analysis.

Three major findings from the meta-analysis were:

  1. Students learn better from spoken-written presentations than from spoken-only presentations, but not better than from written-only presentations. The findings suggest that in fixed-paced presentation, students are more likely to misperceive spoken information than misread written information. Therefore, adding text to audio narration may help students to correct the misperceived speech elements.
  2. Compared to spoken-only presentations, spoken-written presentation was found to benefit students from intermediate (Grade 4) to post-secondary levels. However, this benefit was moderated by individual differences. Larger effect sizes were found for L2 and non-fluent L1 students while smaller effect sizes were found for fluent L1 students. Similarly, benefits were found for students with low prior knowledge but not for students with high prior knowledge.
  3. The benefits of spoken-written presentation over spoken-only presentation were found in system-paced studies and less so in learner-paced studies. However, effects of spoken-written presentation were not found when the presentations were accompanied with diagrams or animations that can be understood on their own. Another important factor is the degree of overlap between the spoken and written information. Instead of fully redundant information, in other words, studies that presented key terms from the spoken narrations in written form (i.e., partial overlap) were associated with greater learning.

Adesope, O. O., & Nesbit, J. C. (2012). Verbal redundancy in multimedia learning environments: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology104(1), 250-263.

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