With the increasing use of computers in the classroom and the advancement of information technology, a requirement to investigate and evaluate different strategies for the presentation of verbal information in interactive and dynamic visualizations has risen to a high level of importance. There is a need for research efforts that apply cognitive load theory (CLT), cognitive learning strategies, and established principles of multimedia design to conduct empirical research that will add to our knowledge of designing and developing dynamic visualizations for teaching and learning anatomy. The impact of improved teaching and learning of anatomical sciences and the development of a set of guiding principles to facilitate the design and development of effective dynamic visualizations represent a significant achievement for medical education with wide application. This theoretical paper presents the foundations of CLT, cognitive learning strategies, and principles of multimedia design to guide the needed research on dynamic visualizations. Anat Rec (Part B: New Anat) 286B:8–14, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.