8. Applying the Coherence Principle: Adding Material Can Hurt Learning

  1. Ruth Colvin Clark and
  2. Richard E. Mayer

Published Online: 4 JAN 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118255971.ch8

e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning, Third Edition

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

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 JAN 2012
  2. Published Print: 1 AUG 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470874301

Online ISBN: 9781118255971

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Keywords:

  • coherence principle;
  • e-learning;
  • extraneous sounds;
  • graphics;
  • multimedia environments

Summary

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

e-Learning