Instructional Science

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 343–365 | Cite as

Altering the Modality of Instructions to Facilitate Imagination: Interactions between the Modality and Imagination Effects

  • Sharon Tindall-Ford
  • John Sweller


Under some conditions, learning is improved by using a dual mode presentation involving for example, visual diagrams and auditory, rather than written text (modality effect). Under other conditions, learning is improved by asking learners to imagine rather than study instructional material (imagination effect). Both effects have been explained using cognitive load theory. This paper investigates interactions between the modality and imagination effects. It was hypothesized that the imagination effect would be facilitated when accompanied by audio/visual instructions compared to visual only instructions. Experiment 1 provided evidence to suggest that for the materials used, audio/visual instructions were required to obtain an imagination effect. Experiment 2 through verbal protocols aimed to investigate the cognitive mechanisms required when studying and imagining and found that learners who studied tended to engage in search while learners who imagined focused on entities and relations that needed to be learned.


coginitive load theory imagination effect modality effect 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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