Brain-based Multimedia: Principles for Using Multimedia

Advances in technology have made it much easier to create materials for language learners that combine various forms of media; but how effectively are we using multimedia when we create these activities? It would be useful to know more about how multimedia might best be used for learning purposes. Some combinations of multimedia help learning, while others distract and impair the learning process. The field of cognitive psychology has much research on how the brain learns and under what conditions it learns best. Based on Mayer and Moreno’s "Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning” (2003), we see how our brain’s dual encoding capabilities can help reduce the strain on short-term memory when learning with multimedia.

This module will be a bit different from the others in that you will not learn how to use a specific tool for a certain kind of activity. Rather, you will investigate some general ideas for how to incorporate multimedia into the materials and activities that you are creating. The Discussion has been integrated into the Examples and Activities sections, and there is no Create section - you should just keep these principles in mind for your next project!

Because there should be discussion of the principles and examples in this module, it is highly recommended to work through this module in a group.


Mayer, R. E. & Moreno, R. (2003). Nine ways to reduce cognitive load in multimedia learning. Educational Psychologist, 38(1). Retrieved August 6, 2006, from EBSCOhost.

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