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Week 3: Project: Create Effective Multimedia


At this point in the course, we apply what we have learned about effective multimedia to an instructional multimedia project of your own, using tools that you use in your classrooms. When creating or significantly revising your multimedia, be mindful of the criteria below:


Evaluation: Your multimedia project should reduce extraneous processing, manage essential, foster generative processing (deeper learning), and make effective use of graphics. Some or all of the principles in each category may apply to your multimedia project.

Download the checklist as a text file here.


Reduces Extraneous Processing

The multimedia reduces the cognitive load on the learner by avoiding elements that foster extraneous processing that does not further the learning goals. The multimedia artifact shows awareness of several of the following principles:

Coherence Principle

Extraneous material is excluded from the multimedia. Interesting but irrelevant text, graphics, and sounds are excluded.

Signaling Principle

Cues that show the organization of the lesson are included. Cues that highlight important elements are implemented.

Redundancy Principle

The multimedia provides most of the words in narrative along with images. Written text is minimized.

Spatial Contiguity Principle

Corresponding words and pictures are presented close to each other rather than far from each other as in using captions.

Temporal Contiguity Principle

Corresponding spoken words and images are presented simultaneously rather than successively

Manages Essential Processing

Multimedia helps learner avoid cognitive overload when processing complex material. The multimedia artifact shows awareness of several of the following principles:

Segmenting Principle

Lesson is broken in manageable parts. Avoid loading too much information on each slide or segment. Pace of lesson may either be controlled by learner or in response to needs of learners.

Pre-training Principle

Learners perform better in complex lessons when they are given names and characteristics of key concepts before or in the beginning of the lesson. Prior knowledge is activated. Knowledge that supports the learning may be reviewed.

Modality Principle

The multimedia presents most words as spoken and reduces the use of printed words.

Fosters Generative Processing

The multimedia should foster integration of new material with existing knowledge. The multimedia artifact demonstrates awareness of several of the following principles

Multimedia Principle

Relevant graphics are included with words.

Concretizing Principle

Unfamiliar information is related to familiar information. Relevant prior knowledge is activated and related to new knowledge.

Personalization Principle

Uses conversational rather than formal language.

Voice Principle

Learners perform better with a friendly human voice rather than computer generated voices.

Uses Graphics to Foster Learning

Uses graphics effectively to enhance learning. Graphics carefully chosen to support learning. Decorative images are avoided. Graphics support attention, activate of build prior knowledge, minimize cognitive load, build mental models, or support learning transfer. The multimedia artifact may include representational, mnemonic, or explanatory graphics.

Avoids decorative Graphics

Avoids graphics that may be humorous, interesting , eye pleasing, but do not support learning. 

Representational Graphics

Realistic representations of something related to learning objectives including screen captures

Mnemonic Images

Images that help learners remember information

Explanatory Graphics

Images that help learners create mental models.

Organizational Graphics

Show qualitative relations: maps, mind maps, organizational charts, tree diagrams, etc.

Relational graphics

Show quantitative relations such as charts and graphs

Transformational Graphics

Show changes over time or space: flow charts, step by steps procedures, timelines, or animations depicting changes.

Interpretive Graphics

Involve more abstract ideas like illustrating a theory, principle, or cause and effect relations.


Task Discussion

  • karen   Oct. 29, 2011, 7:06 p.m.

    Great! I was just about to post soemthing to say that a short checklist (or cheat sheet) of the major points would be useful to me. Here it is! Thanks.

    Also, this is such great information, and so many people I know would benefit from it. I have a couple webinars for teachers scheduled for early next year that I'd like to present of this at. Steve, is it possible to save these Keynotes as Powerpoints (even without audio would be great) that I and others could use and adapt for this? If so, thanks....and no rush. :)

  • Steve O'Connor   Oct. 30, 2011, 1:10 p.m.
    In Reply To:   karen   Oct. 29, 2011, 7:06 p.m.

    I think I'm going to tweak this checklist, then export it as a PDF. Let me know what you would like converted to ppt, and I'll take care of it for you. If you would like any of the graphics used in them, I can send them along too (I think I saved most of them).

  • karen   Oct. 31, 2011, 6:41 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Steve O'Connor   Oct. 30, 2011, 1:10 p.m.

    Personanlly, I'd like the checklist as a Word doc or something editable, because then I could add my own notes or expand/condense  to meet my own needs. Don't think I need the graphics as a part of it.

  • Steve O'Connor   Nov. 6, 2011, 5:34 p.m.
    In Reply To:   karen   Oct. 31, 2011, 6:41 p.m.

    I just posted an rtf version of it here.