Modality principle

Students learn better from animation and descriptive audio than from animation and onscreen text.

Research has shown that when you can use audio, this significantly increases learning gains. Especially when you want to teach more complex subject matter and the audio is clear and concise, this can be very effective. You prevent an overload of the visual memory, which would arise from the use of text and animation or video because the students would need to focus on the text and therefore the animation or video could not be viewed attentively. It is obviously intended to minimize the student’s memory overload.

Some limitations may appear with the modality principle:

  • Too high technical demands, which the learning environment can not handle.
  • Too much noise for the learning environment, and distracting to other students
  • Too expensive to create audio
  • Too difficult to adapt to rapidly changing information

Sometimes it is also desirable that the text remains visible to the student as a reminder, especially if the text is:

  • technical,
  • unknown,
  • not in the mother tongue,
  • or required for further use.