Learning from multimedia: the locus of modality effects
Zolna, Jesse S.
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Research in educational psychology has focused on facilitating learning by using two presentation modalities (auditory and visual) to convey information. Learning is theorized to improve through an increase in perceptual information flow. I hypothesized that presenting information in two modalities might also provide additional benefits that occur after information is perceived, and while it is being processed for learning. The present study explored whether perceptual effects and cognitive effects of multimedia presentation can be separated by presenting auditory and visual information sequentially or simultaneously. During simultaneous presentation, the typical multimedia effect (that is, facilitating learning by presenting information in two modalities) did not occur, suggesting that the multimedia effect might depend upon more than perceptual effects. Moreover, the manipulation showed significant effects of presentation type during sequential presentation, suggesting that effects previously thought to be a result of reducing perceptual overlap might actually occur after perception. Based on the results of this study, I recommend that information designers reconsider the sources assumed to influence the multimedia learning effect. This would have implications for determining the optimal presentation of information.