8. Applying the Coherence Principle: Adding Material Can Hurt Learning
Published Online: 4 JAN 2012
Copyright © 2008, 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.
e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning, Third Edition
How to Cite
Clark, R. C. and Mayer, R. E. (2011) Applying the Coherence Principle: Adding Material Can Hurt Learning, in e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning, Third Edition, Pfeiffer, San Francisco, CA, USA. doi: 10.1002/9781118255971.ch8
- Published Online: 4 JAN 2012
- Published Print: 1 AUG 2011
Print ISBN: 9780470874301
Online ISBN: 9781118255971
- coherence principle;
- extraneous sounds;
- multimedia environments
The coherence principle is important because it is commonly violated, is straightforward to apply, and can have a strong impact on learning. This chapter summarizes the empirical evidence for excluding rather than including extraneous information in the form of background sound, added text, and added graphics. What is new in the chapter is some updating of the growing research base, but the main conclusion remains the same: Adding interesting but unnecessary materials to e-learning can harm the learning process. The chapter explores the merits of adding extra sounds, pictures, and words that are intended to make multimedia environments more interesting to the learner. The authors recommend avoiding adding extraneous sounds or music to instructional presentations, especially in situations in which the learner is likely to experience heavy cognitive processing demands. Much of the research reported in the chapter deals with short lessons delivered in a controlled lab environment.
Controlled Vocabulary Terms
graphic design; multimedia; sound