Multimedia instructions and cognitive load theory: Effects of modality and cueing
Article first published online: 16 DEC 2010
2004 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Educational Psychology
Volume 74, Issue 1, pages 71–81, March 2004
How to Cite
Tabbers, H. K., Martens, R. L. and Van Merriënboer, J. J. G. (2004), Multimedia instructions and cognitive load theory: Effects of modality and cueing. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 74: 71–81. doi: 10.1348/000709904322848824
- Issue published online: 16 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 16 DEC 2010
- Received 24 April, 2001; revised version received 28 July, 2002
- Cited By
Background: Recent research on the influence of presentation format on the effectiveness of multimedia instructions has yielded some interesting results. According to cognitive load theory (Sweller, Van Merriënboer, & Paas, 1998) and Mayer's theory of multimedia learning (Mayer, 2001), replacing visual text with spoken text (the modality effect) and adding visual cues relating elements of a picture to the text (the cueing effect) both increase the effectiveness of multimedia instructions in terms of better learning results or less mental effort spent.
Aims: The aim of this study was to test the generalisability of the modality and cueing effect in a classroom setting.
Sample: The participants were 111 second-year students from the Department of Education at the University of Gent in Belgium (age between 19 and 25 years).
Method: The participants studied a web-based multimedia lesson on instructional design for about one hour. Afterwards they completed a retention and a transfer test. During both the instruction and the tests, self-report measures of mental effort were administered.
Results: Adding visual cues to the pictures resulted in higher retention scores, while replacing visual text with spoken text resulted in lower retention and transfer scores.
Conclusions: Only a weak cueing effect and even a reverse modality effect have been found, indicating that both effects do not easily generalise to non-laboratory settings. A possible explanation for the reversed modality effect is that the multimedia instructions in this study were learner-paced, as opposed to the system-paced instructions used in earlier research.