The Effects of Multimedia and Elaborative Encoding on Learning
Najjar, Lawrence Joseph
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The effects of presenting information using multimedia (e.g., text, audio, illustrations) on learning performance are inconsistent. Some studies show that multimedia improves learning, while other studies find no effect. It is possible that these inconsistent findings may be explained by the effects of elaborative encoding. Elaborative encoding can be thought of as an encoding process that enriches a stimulus, therefore making it easier to store and retrieve the stimulus. For example, if pictures are richer than text, then multimedia that presents information using text and pictures may be more elaborative than multimedia that uses text and auditory words. Multimedia and learner tasks that encourage richer processing of the information may provide more links with which to connect the new information to prior knowledge. Information that is linked better may show higher levels of learning performance because the information is integrated with prior knowledge and more cognitive pathways are available to retrieve the information.