A Framework for Learning from Media: The Effects of Materials, Tasks, and Tests on Performance
Najjar, Lawrence Joseph
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Existing theories (e.g., Baggett, 1984, 1989; Baggett & Ehrenfeucht, 1982, 1983; Clark & Paivio, 1991; Mayer, 1993; Paivio, 1971, 1991; Clark & Paivio, 1991) do not adequately predict the effects of multimedia on learning. We need to develop a more complete theoretical framework for understanding the effects of multimedia on learning. Four elements appear to be critical to this framework (e.g., Bransford, 1978; Jenkins, 1978; Najjar, 1995). These elements are the learners, the learning materials, the tasks performed by the learners, and the tests of learning. All four elements affect whether multimedia information is learned. The critical, common factor appears to be transfer-appropriate processing. Information that is processed the same way at learning and at test (e.g., verbally, pictorially) may be learned better than information that is not learned this way (e.g., Morris, Bransford, & Franks, 1977; Stein, 1978). This paper describes the literature that is the basis for these ideas.