Mayer’s design principles for multimedia learning

You’ll find a brief introduction to the different design principles. We always give an example in which the principle has not been applied and an example in which it has.

If you wish to know more about these principles, you can discuss them in the ‘in depth’ section.

Personalization principles

Use a communicative style of writing (including the use of the I and you-form) and a friendly, human one.

Mayer: Personaliseringsprincipe: situatie voor

You can personalize the text by writing it from the perspective of the person himself. After all, we describe a process here that takes place in every mind and thus in that of the student as well. Speaking about ‘your senses’ and ‘your brain’ feels less detached than ‘senses’ and ‘brain’. You can aslo write the second sentence in an active form (try to avoid using the verb ‘be’).

Mayer: Personaliseringsprincipe: situatie na

Signaling principle

Focus the attention on critical and essential aspects of the learning material by means of extra markings.

Mayer: Signaliseringsprincipe: situatie voor

We can improve this text by creating a numbered list and put the key words in bold text.

Mayer: Signaliseringsprincipe: situatie na

Multimedia principle

Text combined with image is better than text alone.

Mayer: Multimediaprincipe: situatie voor

We make this text clearer, for example by means of, an image.

Mayer: Multimediaprincipe: situatie na

Spatial proximity principle

The space between the corresponding words and images should be minimal.

Mayer: Ruimtelijk nabijheidsprincipe: situatie voor

We put the text in the image but not below.

Mayer: Ruimtelijk nabijheidsprincipe: situatie na

Modality principle

An image in combination with audio is better than written text. The latter will overload the visual channel.

Mayer: Modaliteitsprincipe: situatie voor

We provide the text audible and in the image, we only put keywords.

Temporal proximity principle

Corresponding words and images must appear simultaneously.

Here we have animated the drawing, synchronous with the audio.

Redundancy principle

Image plus audio is better than picture plus audio plus text. The latter leads to “cognitive overload’.

Subtitles in the same language as the audio are distractive. This can be a tool only for non-natives or people with a low literacy.

Coherence principle

Avoid unnecessary, unrelated words, images and sounds.

In this example, background music is used. It is better that you avoid that..

Voice principle

Picture principle

Show only the essential images.

It has no value to bring the teacher into view, in addition to the visual animation. Her voice is sufficient.

Principle of individual differences

Design effects have a stronger effect on participants with little prior knowledge and on participants with a poor spatial awareness.