Discussion Responses


Original DQ

Multi-media instruction can invoke multi-tasking in learners on voluntary and involuntary levels. Several information channels may be in operation and may be activated consciously or unconsciously. During learning, one or more channels may be utilizing the maximum cognitive resources available. Under those conditions, cross-channel interference may be more likely. In light of the phenomena of voluntary and involuntary initiation of cognitive tasks by multi-media presentations are multi- or mono-media instructional materials more efficacious to learners? Why?

Responses Needed

1. Having multimedia instruction within the classroom can invoke multi-tasking in learners on both the voluntary and involuntary level. There are several information channels that are engaged and may be in operation in the consciousness and the unconscious. It is first important to recognize the role that cognitive load capacity plays in this type of instruction. Research has shown that a student’s cognitive load capacity should be a central focus when designing multimedia instruction (Mayer & Moreno, 2003). A good way to measure a student’s cognitive load capacity in relation to multimedia instruction, was demonstrated through research which identified that physical changes in a student’s body (i.e. pupil dilation size, endogenous blinking rate, and reading time) can support human-automation interactions, which points to the unconscious multitasking (Mwanbe, Tan, & Kamioka, 2021). Additionally, multimedia instruction, despite the unconscious and conscious multitasking that comes with it, has demonstrated effectiveness for those learners with disabilities and culturally diverse learnings (VanUitert, Kennedy, Romig, & Carlisle, 2020; Kumi-Yeboah, Kim, Sallar, & Kiramba, 2020). Research has shown that students with disabilities, who were engaged with multimedia instruction, showed better results on outcome assessments which demonstrates the importance of including multimedia instruction when designing a course (VanUitert, Kennedy, Romig, & Carlisle, 2020). This type of work can also be particularly supportive of online learners with diverse cultural backgrounds and linguistics, as research suggests that there is a need for online instruction to incorporate multiple digital technologies to assist students in engaging academically (Kumi-Yeboah, Kim, Sallar, & Kiramba, 2020). Since instructors are not always aware of student’s disabilities, and assessing the literature to show how multimedia instruction can be beneficial to all types of leaners, it would be more efficacious to learners to have multimedia instruction. Academic instructors, both in a traditional classroom setting as well as an in an online setting can best support students through the use of a multimedia instruction model.


Kumi-Yeboah, A., Kim, Y., Sallar, A. M., & Kiramba, L. K. (2020). Exploring the Use of Digital Technologies from the Perspective of Diverse Learners in Online Learning Environments. Online Learning24(4), 42–63.

Mayer, R. E., & Moreno, R. (2003). Nine ways to reduce cognitive load in multimedia learning. Educational Psychologist38(1), 43–52. URL: https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=9110440&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Mwambe, O. O., Tan, P. X., & Kamioka, E. (2021). Endogenous Eye Blinking Rate to Support Human-Automation Interaction for E-Learning Multimedia Content Specification. Education Sciences11.

VanUitert, V. J., Kennedy, M. J., Romig, J. E., & Carlisle, L. M. (2020). Enhancing Science Vocabulary Knowledge of Students with Learning Disabilities Using Explicit Instruction and Multimedia. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal18(1), 3–25.

2. During this past year of COVID-19, this question has become an important one for most teachers and students across the world as much classroom instruction came to a halt and the world focused on virtual learning. Teachers who had never included any multi-media with their instruction were suddenly being forced to instruct in a way that had a large virtual and multi-media foundation. This has required teachers to rethink instruction and may change the face of education as we knew it.

Considering the way learning occurs and cognition that includes reading, writing, speaking, and listening about a topic; multimedia presentations and the opportunities this mode of learning affords has the opportunity to create in-depth learning opportunities, but only if used appropriately. Sawyer et al., (2017) posited that often, when multimedia is used in the classroom, it is merely turned on, the participant has no control and is considered a passive learner. This, in itself, does not inspire learning at a deep or long-term level. However, in their study, they tested active learning methods against both text-based lessons and multimedia lessons to find the most promising level of learning. The outcome of their study led them to recommend using multimedia within lessons within a combination of other active-learning techniques such as cooperative learning strategies and evaluative writing incorporated with multimedia lessons. This combination allowed students to process information at a deeper level and retain information for a longer period of time.

Lawson et al., (2021) supports this research with the Generative Learning Theory that students see stronger learning outcomes when they engage in selecting, organizing, and integrating information during learning and state that students who are given a task and are required to become active learners learn more than passive learners do, especially when engaging with multimedia. In their research, students who attended writing while using multimedia information to gain knowledge increased knowledge at a greater rate than students who were only passive learners.

It is imperative in learning for multi modes of learning to be engaged and for the students to truly become active in their learning for true learning to occur.  Reading, writing, speaking, and listening go hand in hand with active learning.

Lawson, A. P., & Mayer, R. E. (2021). Benefits of Writing an Explanation During Pauses in Multimedia Lessons. Educational Psychology Review, 1–27. https://doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1007/s10648-021-09594-w

Sawyer, J. E., Obeid, R., Bublitz, D., Schwartz, A. M., Brooks, P. J., & Richmond, A. S. (2017). Which Forms of Active Learning are Most Effective: Cooperative Learning, Writing-to-Learn, Multimedia Instruction, or Some Combination? Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology3(4), 257–271. https://doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1037/stl0000095

3.  Multi-media instruction is based on multi-media tools used for educational purposes. These tools may include smartphones, computers, audio, video, and even hyperlinks that are embedded in a document or presentation, (Kumi-Yeboah, Kim, Sallar, & Kiramba, 2020). Mono-media instruction is based on a text-only presentation for learning purposes such as a book without illustrations or a PowerPoint presentation without color or graphics, just text only, (Angwin, Cummings, & Daellenbach, 2019). Both are sources for educational instruction.

There are two theories that are applicable to our question, Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) and Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (CTML). CLT, essentially, states that our cognitive processes and memory have a limited capacity and have three components, intrinsic, extraneous, and germane cognitive load. Intrinsic cognitive load is based on information acquired in relation to the task involved. Extraneous cognitive load is based on the information received that does not pertain to the task involved. Germane cognitive load is the information obtained that is directly related to the task and results in an advanced learning function. CTML proposes that multimedia picture-plus-text instruction may support efficacy if it promotes learners in constructing representative schemas that combine the new information with knowledge in long-term memory, ((Korbach, Brünken, & Park, 2017). CLT and CTML are both relevant in understanding the efficacy of multi vs mono-media instruction.

Multimedia is the most effective type of instruction. Multiple studies have proven its success for education purposes and many researchers agree that multimedia increases cognitive stimulation by maximizing the human brain’s capacity from both visual/pictorial and auditory/verbal processing (Kumi-Yeboah, Kim, Sallar, & Kiramba, 2020; Merak Rahimi, & Atefeh Allahyari, 2019). However, it would seem that certain conditions apply. As previously stated in the CLT, there are three cognitive load components, but not all of them are relative to learning. Extraneous cognitive load is information received that does not pertain to the instruction. This could also be the source of cross-channel interference. Therefore, as long as the multimedia used for instruction does not contain extraneous information, multimedia instruction would be most effective for learners.

Angwin, D. N., Cummings, S., & Daellenbach, U. (2019). How the Multimedia Communication of Strategy Can Enable More Effective Recall and Learning. ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT LEARNING & EDUCATION, 18(4), 527–546. https://doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.5465/amle.2018.0066

Korbach, A., Brünken, R., & Park, B. (2017). Measurement of Cognitive Load in Multimedia Learning: A Comparison of Different Objective Measures. Instructional Science: An International Journal of the Learning Sciences, 45(4), 515–536.

Kumi-Yeboah, A., Kim, Y., Sallar, A. M., & Kiramba, L. K. (2020). Exploring the Use of Digital Technologies from the Perspective of Diverse Learners in Online Learning Environments. Online Learning24(4), 42–63.

Merak Rahimi, & Atefeh Allahyari. (2019). Effects of Multimedia Learning Combined With Strategy-Based Instruction on Vocabulary Learning and Strategy Use. SAGE Open, 9. https://doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1177/2158244019844081

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