Educational Content for Meaningful Learning

Educational Content for Meaningful Learning

Educational Content for Meaningful Learning – A Research of Educational Course Content 


Boise State University, Graduate Cerificate in Online Teaching


Updated on: 10/18/2019


This paper is a secondary research of how to deliver an effective learning experience, with particular importance to learning complex or technical skills. It also compiles fundamental concepts of e-Learning from magnificent authors while the writer of the paper undergoes the Master of Educational Technology at Boise State University. The document will analyze concepts about how people learn best, how the learning happens, and what experts recommend when teaching and creating learning contents. The author of the paper is an instructor of computer literacy and has a goal to analyze what it takes for a student to receive educational content and have a meaningful learning experience. This paper also analyzes the concepts of educational technology and its application to teaching. Focus will be given to develop teaching content that stimulates active learning, discuss what is necessary for meaningful learning to occur, and how people learn complex theories and skills. This paper addresses the concepts, methods, activities, and tools that can be used to help deliver a class to people with varying degree of knowledge.

Research Methodology

This paper is accomplished via research of teaching and learning methodologies written by experts in these fields. This being a secondary research, the fundamental theories and researched data are cited, all analysis or elaboration that uses these fundamentals are an application of the cited information, and in all cases, the cited information will precede the section that has any of the previous fundamentals mention. If the author develops a new perspective or devices a method not derived from the researched material, this will be expressed as such. This method will be highlighted so in the conclusion section.

I.    Introduction

The world has evolved into a highly technological environment. This is mostly seen in the modern societies, but in all counties, the use and influence of technology is growing daily. Today’s world is surrounded by electronic devices, which challenges each person to decide what will be the use each person will do with the technology. These devices range from the smartphone, tablets, laptops, computers, and Internet activity, such as browsing the web or using email. Each person needs to know what kind of activity with computers will be performed, and what the person needs to know to uses the technology securely and productively. It is almost impossible to live without basic understanding of how we should abide with technology, unless the case be that the person will have no need to use the technology. The population in the society has varying levels of computer literacy and ability to use computerized devices. Many people are buying computers and laptops today and the use of these have become more complex than before. People are more prone to get a virus or being hacked before they learn to use a word processor.
After being in the computer technology since 1978, the reality is that all the technology being used today and the environment in which it interacts is very complex. The newer operating systems, such as Windows or Mac operating systems are more complex than before. For the benefit of the reader, the term “operating systems” may seem complicated, but when you turn on any computer, the operating system, which simply said is the Windows or the Mac operating systems is loaded. Simply said, after the computer turns on, the operating system display all the helpful icons and the desktop screen is displayed.
The greatest challenge for all who are using technology is to keep the pace with the release of new computer systems and newer version of the programs. These new programs new features, which in occasions require new learning. This also creates a challenge for the computer instructors to deliver a class to a population with varying levels of computer knowledge. This makes it of very great important that teachers and instructors of technical skills be more knowledgeable of the needs of the computer learners, what they know already about technology, and what it will take for them to learn to use the new technology in an effective manner.

II.    Purpose of this Research

The purpose of this article is to research the best methods and practices to teach computer literacy, or any computer concept that involves doing a task with technology. As a preamble to the article, I wish to highlight that today’s world has evolved into a highly technological society. Similarly, for the students point of view the purpose translates to research the best methods and practices to learn computer literacy, or any computer concept that involves doing a task with technology.
If a person is to use the available technology, it is to the person’s best interest to know how to how to use these efficiently and safely. It is very important to understand how we should abide with technology, if we are to use it safely. The highlight on safety is based on the current threats that computer user have on the Internet and with fraudulent emails.
The population in the society has varying levels of computer literacy and ability to use computerized devices, such as personal computers and tablets, and the ability to browse on the web without a security issue. Many people are buying computers and laptops today and the use of these have become more complex than before. People are more prone to get a virus or being hacked before they learn to use a computer safely.
Today’s computer instructors are challenged to deliver a learning experience to a population with varying levels of computer literacy. It is important that instructors of technical skills be aware of the needs of the learners, what they already about technology, and what it will take for them to learn the news skills in an effective manner.

III.   What is Computer Literacy?

What does it means to state that a person is computer literate? Maybe the best approach to define this is by answering the question: What are the levels of computer literacy needed in the current technological world? What are the necessary skills to use a computer safely to perform tasks to obtain a useful or needed results from a computer?

Because the dangers on the Internet has grown so much, the above mentioned skills are important and being safe on the web is part of computer literacy. For example, what is it worth to start using a computer and not have the required knowledge to be safe, and end up having your computer infected by a virus or, for the worst case, become a victim of identity theft.

In these days, in order for a person to use a computer, it is highly recommended that they know the following:

  1. To understand that when a computer powers up, it is loading the operating system. We can define the operating system as the program that is loaded from the disk drive to the memory of the computer, which causes the computer to provide the user with all the graphics that are displayed in the monitor of the computer, so that the user can click and start doing useful work.
  2. This means that when the computer has loaded the operating system, the computer is ready for the user’s inputs via the mouse and keyboard.
  3. The user of a computer needs to know how to be safe while using a computer. This means to know what dangers exist in the Internet, which can cause the user’s computer infected by a virus. To also know that if the computer user enters into a web site that is not safe, the personal information of the user can be stolen, hence the user can become victim of identity theft.
  4. The user needs to know that there are many web sites offering “free software” that contain spyware. When the user installs these “free software” their computer will have the spyware installed and the program will be tracking the behavior of the user on the web.
  5. To know that the Internet has web site that are useful, and web sites that have intrinsic dangers, such as viruses and programs that can intrude into a user’s computer and cause damage to the computer or steal the identity of the computer user. The user must know that some spyware can cause instability in the operation of the computer.
  6. Because every computer these days are destined to access the World Wide Web, it is necessary for the person to know how to navigate safely on the Web, also known as the Internet.
  7. The user may need to undergo some study preparation, like taking a class on how Windows work or learning how to use a word processor.
  8. For some people it can mean, learning to use an email program and understand that when using email, that email can be forwarded to others. This means that the computer user should learn the guidelines to communicate via email or the web.
  9. The computer user should know how to save a file or a picture to the computer.
  10. Other things that may be needed to learn are how to write a resume, do online banking transactions.
  11. The computer user will benefit of the awareness and knowledge, which will enable to avoid problems that otherwise would not have been detected.

 A basic definition of computer literacy of the author of this document is as follows:

The progression of learning how to use a computer to perform tasks such as writing documents, creating spreadsheets, saving files, protecting your computer against hacking and viruses, using email effectively, and browsing the Internet in a safe manner. There skills are being impacted by the new features and new programs that on a daily basis are released into the market. Of very critical importance is knowing how to use the computer within the environment of the Web. These learned skills prepare the user to be aware of how to avoid computer risks such as fraudulent emails, web scams, to avoid identity theft, viruses, and spyware.

 ~ Francisco L. Gonzalez

IV.   Definitions used throughout this paper


The Oxford Dictionaries ( define Pedagogy as the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept. define pedagogy as the function or work of a teacher; teaching; the art or science of teaching; education; instructional methods.
Hands-On Learning

Hands-On learning is is the activity in which theory and practice meet.
Below is an excellent definition from the Oswego City School District, in Oswego, New York.

The phrase “hands-on learning,” also known as materials-centered learning, inquiry-learning or minds-on learning, has various interpretations.  One simple definition is “learning by doing,” while another says “it is engaging in in-depth investigations with objects, materials, phenomena, and ideas and drawing meaning and understanding from those experiences.” (What is hands-on learning?, 2017)

Hands-on learning is one of the best approaches for teaching technology because it requires to apply the theory. The act of applying the theory causes the person to analyze it. The learning is further enhanced because the person uses their motor skills are being used to perform the task. It also provides a real-time assimilation of theory and use of the motor skills. The result is the act of converting the theory to a performed skill.
Active Learning

The following definitions of active learning that were compiled by Cornell University, Center for Teaching Excellence:

Active learning is “anything that involves students in doing things and thinking about the things they are doing” (Bonwell & Eison, 1991, p. 2). Felder & Brent (2009) define active learning as “anything course-related that all students in a class session are called upon to do other than simply watching, listening and taking notes” (p. 2). Active learning strategies can be as short as a few minutes long. Active learning techniques can be integrated into a lecture or any other classroom setting relatively easily. Even large classrooms can involve learning activities beyond the traditional lecture format. (Cornell University-Center for Teaching Excellence, 2017)


Pictorial Representation

A pictorial representation is any image, picture, graphic, animation, video, illustration, drawings, or any imagery.


Excellent definition for modality at

Modality shares its root with the word mode, meaning “the way in which something happens or is experienced.” A sensory modality is a way of sensing, like vision or hearing. Modality in someone’s voice gives a sense of the person’s mood. In logic, modality has to do with whether a proposition is necessary, possible, or impossible. In general, a modality is a particular way in which something exists. (Modality, 2017)


V.    Cognitive Learning Processes

The Oxford Learning defines “cognition’’ as the “umbrella for the learning skills, which is the ability to process information, reason, remember, and relate” (Oxford Learning Centres, Inc., 2016).  Cognitive learning is the mental processes that convert the information acquired via the senses of seeing and hearing and to understand new concepts and skills. Cognitive learning processes are concepts that a teacher or instructor should learn in order to be effective in facilitating a learning experience. Cognitive learning is a fundamental aspect of face-to-face teaching or online teaching, also call e-learning.

The following explanation of Instructional methods from the book e-Learning and the Science of Instruction is so well said:

Instructional methods in e-lessons must guide the learner’s transformation of words and pictures in the lesson through working memory so that they incorporated into existing knowledge in long-term memory. (Mayer, 2011, p. 39)


VI.   How the Human Memory Works

The article, Issues in Basic Learning and Alphabetization provides great insight to the human memory. The computer and the brain process information, deciphers the information, and stores the information. The brain is indeed a marvelous human organ, so complex that is beyond my learned skills to elaborate on. When we learn something, this is stored in memory, it is stored long-term memory, from where later. When we need that knowledge, we retrieve the information to solve a problem or to apply it to the task at hand. There are various similarities between the brain and the computer. In order for this storage of information to happen, the brain and computer must master three important skills (Issues in Basic Learning and Alphabetisation, 2015, pp. 22-23).
The mentioned article explains very well how these three skills work, as shown below:

The first is called encoding: the process we use to transform information so that it can be stored. For a computer this means transferring data into 1s and 0s. For us, it means transforming the data into a meaningful form such as an association with an existing memory, an image or a sound. Next is the actual storage, which simply means holding onto the information. For this to take place, the computer must physically write the 1s and 0s onto the hard drive. It is very similar for us because it means that a physiological change must occur for the memory to be stored. The final process is called retrieval, which is bringing the memory out of storage and reversing the process of encoding. In other words, returning the information to a form similar to what we stored.(Issues in Basic Learning and Alphabetisation, 2015, pp. 22-23)

I would elaborate that when data is stored in the computer, this data is given a linking address. The program that stored the data has this linking address. When the file is needed, we would do an open file process. When that click to open the file is done, it uses this link to go to the hard drive and fine the file. If the user forgets in which folder the file was stored, then the user needs to at least remember some portion of the name of the file. Many times we do the same thing, we identify some knowledge with some task, and we also search in our memory and try to obtain some things we have done to solve some problem previously. The application or purpose of the task, then becomes the code, to retrieve the knowledge from our memory.


VII.    Short-Term Memory (STM)

It will help to understand how we learn by understanding what short-term memory, abbreviated “STM.” Short-term memory works when information is received via the eyes and ears, that is, to our visual and auditory senses. As you are reading this text, this information is being transferred to your short-term memory. As we will discuss, we all have short-term memory, working memory, and long term memory.

Below is an excerpt from the Issues in Basic Learning and Alphabetization article, which in my perspective, provides an excellent insight to the fact that working memory is time sensitive.


Short-term memory can definitely last longer than sensory memory (up to 30 seconds or so), but it still has a very limited capacity. According to research, we can remember approximately 5 to 9 (7 +/- 2) bits of information in our short- term memory at any given time. If STM lasts only up to 30 seconds, how do we ever get any work done?   Shall we not start to lose focus or concentrate about twice every minute?  This argument prompted researchers to look at a second phase of STM that is now referred to as Working Memory.  Working Memory is the process that takes place when we continually focus on material for longer than STM alone will allow. (Issues in Basic Learning and Alphabetisation, 2015, p. 23)


Furthermore, to our benefit, and thanks to the research in the article just mentioned above where they compiled such great amount of insight of the research on this subject. Below is an excerpt of this compilation.


In 1956, Harvard University-based psychologist George A. Miller published a paper in journal Psychology Review that would give a fascinating insight into human memory and have implications far beyond the field of psychological research and impact on our everyday lives in way many people don’t realize.

Miller was troubled for several years by the invasion of numbers – or specifically, integers – in his life. He set about to research just how much we can remember in our short-term memory. The widely-accepted multi-store model of memory acknowledges separate stores of information in our memory that take the form of a short and long-term memory. As we remember with ease early childhood experiences, it’s clear that the long term memory has a vast capacity that’s difficult to measure in terms of capacity (how much can be stored) and duration, as it lasts a lifetime. The short term memory on the other hand is more limited, and Miller investigated its capacity.


Miller found that the short-term memory of different people varies, but found a strong case for being able to measure short-term memory in terms of chunks. A chunk can be a digit in part of a telephone phone number (but not a telephone number in a list of telephone numbers) or a name or some other single unit of information. His research leads him to discover a Magic Number Seven: most of the participants in his experiments were able to remember seven +- two chunks of information in their short term memory. (p. 23)

I would equate the expression bits of information, as pieces of information, or chunks of information. The computer’s memory is fed with bits of data and process this information to produce a result. This is similar to working memory, it is fed with chunks of data and process it to produce a result. The term bits is mostly used in computer jargon, for binary bits. Though, the main point being expressed above is that we can remember 5 to 9 chunks of information in our working memory. This sounds challenging, that the time capacity of working memory is short, and this taking place in a short time frame of 30 seconds.
I would endeavor to say that what is happening is that when we learn, we are like constructing a building. Let’s say that we are building using bricks. Each brick represents a chunk of information. You learn each chunk in that moment. If you do grasp the concept in that moment, then that brick is well placed in the building. I am calling the well place brick, as learned information. Once this information is learned, it is sent to long-term memory. The other analogy I would add is that each brick is also depending on the previous brick that was placed. Every brick counts, so the better each brick is placed, that is the better something is learned, the better will be the resulting building of knowledge.


VIII.    Long-Term Memory

Long term memory is where all the learned information is stored in the brain. Long-term memory is what we can associate to the hard drive of the computer. The hard drive of the computer provides permanent storage or long-term storage. The reason is that the hard is considered permanent is because it does not lose the data when the power is removed from the computer. The hard drives gets the data written to it and it is indeed encode in the hard drive, as digital bit of 1s and 0s, as mentioned previously. When we learn new information, we add it into our long-term memory as explained in the next sections or this writing. We also encode the information we place in long-term memory, by associating it with an application, or some related information we have learned before. There is one difference between long-term memory and long-term storage in the computer memory. The difference is that on the computer memory, we can delete data. We can delete data that is inside a computer file, and we can also delete the file completely from the computer. It is beyond the scope of this writing to analyze the perspectives if data inside the human memory can be deleted or not. The one perspective I would bring follows a popular saying: “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” In today’s society, we are though, becoming more aware of sicknesses that causes people to forget things that they knew in the past, such as Alzheimer disease, but again, that is beyond the scope of this writing.


IX.    Working Memory and Long-Term Memory

Working memory is where a person organizes information. Alan Baddeley worked on the subject of working memory, and explained that after certain amount time, some of the information inside the working memory fades away (Baddeley, Alan, 1992). Based on this, the content of each segment of a lesson should have the amount of information that can be absorbed by the student in the amount of time that working memory can analyze it.

Baddeley wrote the following for his article Working Memory:

The term working memory refers to a brain system that provides temporary storage and manipulation of the information necessary for such complex cognitive tasks as language comprehension, learning, and reasoning. This definition has evolved from the concept of a unitary short-term memory system. Working memory has been found to require the simultaneous storage and processing of information. It can be divided into the following three subcomponents: (i) the central executive, which is assumed to be an attentional-controlling system, is important in skills such as chess playing and is particularly susceptible to the effects of Alzheimer’s disease; and two slave systems, namely (ii) the visuospatial sketch pad, which manipulates visual images and (iii) the phonological loop, which stores and rehearses speech-based information and is necessary for the acquisition of both native and second-language vocabulary. (Baddeley, Alan, 1992)

X.   The Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning

What we have discussed so far takes us to the topic of the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning. This concept is the basis to comprehend how humans learn, and basically how working memory works. 

The Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning describes how the construction of knowledge occurs, and is based on the following principles (Richard E. Mayer & Ruth Colvin, 2011, p. 35):

  1. Dual channels: there are two separate channels in a person’s brain used for processing sound (auditory) and pictures (visual). 
  2. Limited capacity: The working memory has a limited capacity: people can actively process a limited is amounts of information in each channel at the same time.
  3. Active processing: Learning happens when people assimilate information that is relevant to them, when people are able to organize the information inside their working memory, and integrate this information into long term memory.

When a person is learning something new, the information enters via the ears and eyes. The person is presented with new information and needs to make sense of this information. When the person has organized and understood the new information it is then integrated. After this happens, this information is transferred into long-term memory. When a lesson is delivered, as can be seen in Figure 1, the contents of words and pictures enter the sensory memory. The learner then selects the words and pictures and this content enters the working memory as sound and images. The sounds becomes a verbal model, which is the same term as a verbal structure or a verbal construct. The images become a pictorial model, which is the same term as a pictorial structure or a pictorial construct. At his point, the word and images have become unified into one structure that is integrated with existing knowledge and becomes part of long-term memory (Richard Mayer & Ruth Colvin, 2011, p. 41). 

Figure 1: Diagram of R.E. Mayer’s Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning, 2011)

Figure 1: Diagram of R.E. Mayer’s Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning, 2011)

Observing the above figure, we first have the multimedia presentation, which can be a lesson, a video, a podcast, or any education material that contains words and pictures. These enter into sensory memory, which contain the ears and eyes. This brain activity is very brief and last for just a few seconds (Issues in Basic Learning and Alphabetisation, 2015, p. 23).

The learner selects words and images, and these enter into working memory. Take a moment and observe the arrows that are inside the working memory. These five arrows indicate the mental activity that takes place in active learning. This mental activity indicates that the person is engaged in organizing and assimilating the information that is relevant to them. This engagement indicates that the person is motivated and performing and effort to analyze and make sense of the lesson. This engagement and motivation is an important part of the learning process. The person organizes the information inside working memory and integrates the word information with the image information. This integration is needed for meaningful learning to happen. At this point in the learning process, the new information is transferred to long-term memory. (Richard Mayer & Ruth Colvin, 2011, p. 36)

It is important to note again that there is a time limitation for the processing of information in working memory. If the lesson contains too much information in the form of text and images, the learner has to sort these out and make sense of these. This occurs in working memory, which has a time limitation. Basically, too much information makes it difficult for the working memory to sort and convert the data into a learned concept that will go into long term memory. This is because working memory has limited capacity to hold and process words and images, as explained the excerpt below.

Too much information overwhelms working memory and the learner is overloaded because the amount of essential processing needed to understand the lesson (e-Learning and the Science of Instruction, p. 212). In other words, essential processing is the mental activity needed to process the new information inside working memory.

I would explain the above as follows. A lesson can contain large amount of information in the form of text, words, images, and sound, but working memory has a limited time to absorb that information. This means the working memory has a limited amount of time to process, organize, and understand the information. Once this step occurs well, that is, the information has been integrated, then it becomes part of the storing capacity of long-term memory, which virtually unlimited.


For meaningful learning to occur it is necessary a substantial amount mental analysis to occur in the verbal and visual channels. The learner needs to pay attention while the lesson is being delivered and analyze the information in working memory as a coherent structure and integrating the new knowledge to the knowledge in long-term memory (p. 44).

The instructor needs to be aware and consider the fact that working memory is temporary. When the teaching is delivered, it is optimum if it be delivered in chunk, as explained by George A. Miller (Issues in Basic Learning and Alphabetisation, 2015, p. 23). I would elaborate that, while teaching, the time span of the concept delivery should be in a short duration in which chunks of theory are being built into knowledge. This happens in working memory.
While the learning process is taking place, the information needs to be actively attended by the learner, if not the information is lost. As researched by Bruce E. Goldstein, unattended information has a duration of 10 – 15 seconds in working memory. Unattended information is information that is not being processed, not analyzed, and organized inside working memory (Goldstein, 2011).

I would elaborate that if there is no motivation in learning and all information is unattended, then nothing is learned. The learner must apply mental effort to process the information inside working memory, but this mental effort causes cognitive overwhelm or cognitive overload In addition to the capacity limitation of working memory, there is the factor of mental effort exerted. If information is held in working memory for a longer time period, this causes mental overload, or what is called cognitive overload, and the person can enter into an overwhelmed state (Issues in Basic Learning and Alphabetisation, p. 27).

Only the information being attended is being processed in working memory and assimilated by the learner is what new knowledge becomes. This shows the importance of learning motivation and being attentive to the lesson. It also highlights the importance of doing the preassigned reading or homework. The reason this is important is that there may be other information that was a required knowledge that serve as a preparation for new knowledge. It also follows the importance of being free from distractions. The learner should try to have resolved any issue that can distract the learning, avoid text-messages, or Internet distractions, and pay strong attention to the lesson being delivered. Furthermore, I would add that it is important that the instructor be able to facilitate an environment and activities that go in line with the way people process new information.

One of the purposes of this writing is to highlight key points that foster learning. In this line of thought I would recall the following foundational premise, explained by Mayer and Moreno:


The capacity for physically presenting words and pictures is virtually unlimited, and the capacity for storing knowledge in long-term memory is virtually unlimited, but the capacity for mentally holding and manipulating words and images in working memory is limited. (Richard E. Mayer & Roxana Moreno, 2003, p. 44).


XI. The Retrieval Code

The lesson should provide some manner of coded information (Richard E. Mayer & Ruth Colvin, 2011, p. 43). The coded information can be an expression, sentences, or pictures that when learned, becomes a code to retrieve the information. An example that applies to a job task is a way to deliver the code, because the code is the example being explained. We could ode say that the expression of how to cook lasagna or how to save a file is a coded expression.

There needs to be a way to place the information in long term memory in such a way that it can be retrieved. This expression of in such a way that it can be retrieved, means that the learned contents includes keywords that are used to label the concept or skills of the lesson. This means that it is necessary to give some code or label to identify the new knowledge. This is important to be able to remember (retrieve) the new knowledge and skills from long-term memory, in the moment that this information is needed. This means that the main goal is to teach in order to encode the new information so that it engraved in the brain in a manner that it can be reassessed (p. 42).

During this research, it occurred to me that the concept of metadata can be applied for the “retrieval code.” As known in the computer world, metadata is data about data, and one of its uses is to provide data about the song or anything that is described about a file.

An example of coded information is a picture with an unplugged electrical outlet or a statement saying: “Unplug the power outlet” and maybe in capital letters, “UNPLUG THE POWER OUTLET.” This capitalization is used to emphasize, and usually people will interpret that such a message capitalized is important. The picture can be in red, which is another code for danger. This text would be in a troubleshooting section for an electrical equipment. In this example, the purpose is to inform a message of danger. The danger is that if the power is not removed, the person be in danger of an electrical shock.

An example of coded information is an expression like “be sure to” do this action. For an Excel lesson, and expression like: “Be sure to start a formula with an equal sign, then write in the formula” or “Be sure you are careful when you are entering a formula to only click on cells that will be part of the formula, if not the incorrect cell gets inserted into the formula.”

Another example of providing a retrieval code could be selection of a filename to save a file on the computer. If the person needs to save a file, the file needs to have a filename that triggers the memory for retrieval. Hence the filename should contain a word code, which will help remember the filename when the moment comes to find the file again. If the purpose of the file is to describe the budget for the engineering department for the year 2017, a file name like EngineeringBudget-2017.xlsx will help the user remember how to find the file. The metadata is actually the filename itself, and this filename acts as a “code” for retrieval. A successful lesson transfer provided these codes, which have the purpose of providing the learner with encoded keywords or key pictures that are used to retrieve the information from long-term memory (p. 43).

This means that a successful lesson transfer (lesson delivery) includes the encoded information. I consider the encoded information to do something similar to a keyword. A successful lesson transfer provided these codes, which have the purpose of providing the learner with encoded keywords or key pictures that are bused to retrieve the information from long-term memory (p. 43).


XII. The Multimedia Principle

The Multimedia Principle, developed by Richard Mayer, states that people learn more deeply from words and pictures, than from words alone. This principle is also called the Multimedia Effect. Accompanying words with pictures, animations, movies, or other graphical representation will provide the multimedia effect. In my opinion, incorporating multimedia that permits the visual and auditory channels to be is one of the best method to transfer knowledge to the basic learner population, but also with the care of not overloading the channels.

Studies show that students learn deeper with words and images yielding a result of enhanced learning between 55 percent to 121 compared to students that learned from words alone. (Richard Mayer & Ruth Colvin, 2011, p. 81).



Adult Learning Theories. (2011). Retrieved January 28, 2017, from TEAL Center:

Baddeley, Alan. (1992, January 31). Working Memory. Retrieved January 21, 2017, from Indiana University


Bajak, A. (2014, May 12). Science. Retrieved 2 3, 2016, from

Causal Chain. (2017, February 16). Retrieved February 16, 2017, from

Christopher Pappas . (2016, August 19). What eLearning Professionals Should Know About The Transformative

Learning Theory. Retrieved February 2, 2017, from

Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning. (2011, July 3). Retrieved January 11, 2017, from The


Cognitivist Theories. (2017, march 9). Retrieved March 9, 2017, from

Cornell University-Center for Teaching Excellence. (2017, 1 18). Retrieved from Active Learning:

Goldstein, B. E. (2011). Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research and Everyday Experience. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning.

Issues in Basic Learning and Alphabetisation. (2015, 3 1). Retrieved January 18, 2017, from

Jay Parkes & Mary Harris. (2002). The Purposes of a Syllabus. Retrieved January 21, 2017, from Northern Arizona University:

Learning Gain. (2017, February 1). Retrieved February 1, 2017, from Higher Education Funding Council for England:

Learning Styles. (2017, January 24). Retrieved from TES:

Modality. (2017, March 8). Retrieved March 8, 2017, from

Motor Skill. (2017, January 23). Retrieved January 23, 2017, from Oxford Reference:

Oxford Learning Centres, Inc. (2016, 12 29). Cognitive Skills—A Formal Definition. Retrieved 12 29, 2016, from Oxford Learning:

Pedagogy. (2017, February 7). Retrieved February 7, 2017, from New Word Encyclopedia:

Richard E. Mayer & Roxana Moreno. (2003). Nine Ways to Reduce Cognitive Load in Multimedia Learning.

EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST, 44. Retrieved January 7, 2017, from

Richard E. Mayer & Ruth Colvin. (2011). e-Learning and the Science of Instruction. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

What is hands-on learning? (2017, January 22). Retrieved January 22, 2017, from Oswego City School District:

Writing Quality Learning Objectives. (2017, January 17). Retrieved January 21, 2017, from Duke Trinity College:


Table of Figures


Figure 1: Diagram of R.E. Mayer’s Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning, 2011) 

Figure 2: What is your Learning Style? (Learning Styles, 2017) 


Below are excellent resources and references that are complement the study of learning and teaching, with special focus on adult education and the web link to the resource.