Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 309–326 | Cite as

Interactive Multimodal Learning Environments

Special Issue on Interactive Learning Environments: Contemporary Issues and Trends
  • Roxana MorenoEmail author
  • Richard Mayer
Original Article


What are interactive multimodal learning environments and how should they be designed to promote students’ learning? In this paper, we offer a cognitive–affective theory of learning with media from which instructional design principles are derived. Then, we review a set of experimental studies in which we found empirical support for five design principles: guided activity, reflection, feedback, control, and pretraining. Finally, we offer directions for future instructional technology research.


Interactive Multimodal Learning Environments 



This research was supported by the PECASE 0238385 grant from the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agency.


  1. Aleven, V., & Koedinger, K. R. (2002). An effective meta-cognitive strategy: Learning by doing and explaining with a computer-based cognitive tutor. Cognitive Science, 26, 147–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ayres, P., & Sweller, J. (2005). The split-attention principle in multimedia learning. In R. Mayer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (pp. 135–146). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Azevedo, R. (2005). Computer environments as metacognitive tools for enhancing learning. Educational Psychologist, 40, 193–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baddeley, A. (1992). Working memory. Science, 255, 556–559.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bangert-Drowns, R. L., Kulik, C. C., Kulik, J. A., & Morgan, M. T. (1991). The instructional effect of feedback in test-like events. Review of Educational Research, 61(2), 213–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beck, R. J., King, A., & Marshall, S. K. (2002). Effects of videocase construction on preservice teachers’ observations of teaching. The Journal of Experimental Education, 70(4), 345–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Borgman, C. L., Gilliland-Swetland, A. J., Leazer, G. H., Mayer, R. E., Gwynn, D., Gazan, R., et al. (2000). Evaluating digital libraries for teaching and learning in undergraduate education: A case study of the Alexandria Digital Earth Prototype (ADEPT). Library Trends, 49, 228–250.Google Scholar
  8. Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (1999). How people learn. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  9. Bruning, R., Schraw, G. J., & Ronning, R. R. (1999). Cognitive psychology and instruction. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  10. Cassell, J., Sullivan, J., Prevost, S., & Churchill, E. (Eds.). (2000). Embodied conversational agents. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  11. Chi, M. T. H., de Leeuw, N., Chiu, M. H., & La Vancher, C. (1994). Eliciting self-explanations improves understanding. Cognitive Science, 18, 439–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Clark, R. C. (1999). Developing technical training (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: International Society for Performance Improvement.Google Scholar
  13. Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2003). e-Learning and the science of instruction. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.Google Scholar
  14. Copeland, W. D., & Decker, D. L. (1996). Video cases and the development of meaning making in preservice teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 12, 467–481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. de Jong, T. (2005). The guided discovery principle in multimedia learning. In R. Mayer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (pp. 215–228). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Derry, S. J., & Hmelo-Silver, C. E. (2005). Reconceptualizing teacher education: Supporting case-based instructional problem solving on the World Wide Web. In L. PytlikZillig, M. Bodvarsson, & R. Bruning (Eds.) Technology-based education: Bringing researchers and practitioners together (pp. 21–38). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  17. Dillon, A., & Jobst, J. (2005). Multimedia learning with hypermedia. In R. E. Mayer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (pp. 569–588). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Fletcher, J. D., & Tobias, S. (2005). The multimedia principle. In R. E. Mayer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (pp. 117–133). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Gee, J. P. (2004). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  20. Gredler, M. E. (2004). Games and simulations and their relationships to learning. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (pp. 571–582). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  21. Hogarth, R. M., Gibbs, B. J., McKenzie, C. R. M., & Marquis, M. A. (1991). Learning from feedback: Exactingness and incentives. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 17, 734–752.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jacobson, M. J., & Kozma, R. B.(Eds.). (2000). Innovations in science and mathematics education. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  23. Jacobson, M. J., Maouri, C., Mishra, P., & Kolar, C. (1996). Learning with hypertext learning environments: Theory, design, and research. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 5, 239–281.Google Scholar
  24. Jensen, J. F. (1998). Interactivity: Tracing a new concept in media and communication studies. Nordicom Review, 19, 185–204.Google Scholar
  25. Kalyuga, S., Ayres, P., Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (2003). The expertise reversal effect. Educational Psychologist, 38, 23–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kolodner, J., & Guzdial, M. (2000). Theory and practice of case-based learning aids. In D. Jonassen & S. Land (Eds.), Theoretical foundations of learning environments (pp. 215–242). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  27. Lajoie, S. P. (Ed.). (2000). Computers as cognitive tools: No more walls. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  28. Lakoff, G., & Nunez, R. E. (1997). The metaphorical structure of mathematics: Sketching out cognitive foundations for a mind-based mathematics. In L. D. English (Ed.), Mathematical reasoning: Analogies, metaphors, and images (pp. 21–89). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  29. Lampert, M., & Ball, D. (1998). Investigating teaching: New pedagogies and new technologies for teacher education. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  30. Lester, J. C., Stone, B. A., & Stelling, J. D. (1999). Lifelike pedagogical agents for mixed-initiative problem solving in constructivist learning environments. User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction, 9, 1–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Linn, M. C., Davis, E. A., & Bell, P. (Eds.). (2004). Internet environments for science education. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  32. Low, R., & Sweller, J. (2005). The modality principle in multimedia learning. In R. Mayer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (pp. 147–158). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Lundeberg, M. A., Levin, B. B., & Harrington, H. L. (Eds.) (1999) Who learns what from cases and how? The research base for teaching and learning with cases. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  34. Marchionini, G., & Long, J. (1997). Information seeking in electronic environments. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Markus, M. L. (1990). Toward a “critical mass” theory of interactive media. In J. Fulk & C. Steinfeld (Eds.), Organization and Communication Technology (pp. 194–218). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  36. Mayer, R. E. (2001). Multimedia learning. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Mayer, R. E. (2004). Should there be a three-strikes rule against pure discovery learning? American Psychologist, 59, 14–19.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mayer, R. E. (2005a). Cognitive theory of multimedia learning. In R. Mayer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (pp. 31–48). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Mayer, R. E. (2005b). Principles for managing essential processing multimedia learning: Segmenting, pretraining, and modality principles. In R. E. Mayer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (pp. 169–182). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Mayer, R. E. (2005c). Introduction to multimedia learning. In R. Mayer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (pp. 1–16). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Mayer, R. E., & Chandler, P. (2001). When learning is just a click away: Does simple user interaction foster deeper understanding of multimedia messages? Journal of Educational Psychology, 93, 390–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Mayer, R. E., Dow, G. T., & Mayer, S. (2003). Multimedia learning in an interactive self-explaining environment: What works in the design of agent-based microworlds? Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 806–812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mayer, R. E., Mathias, A., & Wetzell, K. (2002a). Fostering understanding in multimedia messages through pre-training: Evidence for a two-stage theory of mental model construction. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 8, 147–154.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mayer, R. E., Mautone, P., & Prothero, W. (2002b). Pictorial aids for learning by doing in a multimedia geology simulation game. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94, 171–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mayer, R. E., & Moreno, R. (1998). A split-attention effect in multimedia learning: Evidence for dual information processing systems in working memory. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90, 312–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mayer, R. E., & Moreno, R. (2003). Nine ways to reduce cognitive load in multimedia learning. Educational Psychologist, 38, 43–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mayer, R. E., Moreno, R., Boire M., & Vagge S. (1999). Maximizing constructivist learning from multimedia communications by minimizing cognitive load. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 638–643.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. McGuinness, C. (1990). Talking about thinking: The role of metacognition in teaching thinking. In K. Gilhooly, M. Deane & G. Erdos (Eds.), Lines of thinking (vol. 2, pp. 310–312). San Diego: Academic.Google Scholar
  49. McMillan, S. J. (2002). Exploring models of interactivity from multiple research traditions: users, documents, and systems. In L. Lievrouw, & S. Livingston (Eds.), Handbook of New Media (pp. 162–182). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  50. Moreno, R. (2004). Decreasing cognitive load for novice students: Effects of explanatory versus corrective feedback on discovery-based multimedia. Instructional Science, 32, 99–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Moreno, R. (2005a). Instructional technology: Promise and pitfalls. In L. PytlikZillig, M. Bodvarsson, & R. Bruning (Eds.) Technology-based education: Bringing researchers and practitioners together (pp. 1–19). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  52. Moreno, R. (2005b). Multimedia learning with animated pedagogical agents. In R. Mayer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (pp. 507–524). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Moreno, R. (2006a). Learning with high tech and multimedia environments. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15, 63–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Moreno, R. (2006b). Does the modality principle hold for different media? A test of the method affects learning hypothesis. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 22, 149–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Moreno, R. (2006c). Optimizing learning from animations by minimizing cognitive load: Cognitive and affective consequences of signaling and segmentation methods. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 21, 1–17. DOI  10.1002/acp.1348.
  56. Moreno, R., & Durán, R. (2004). Do multiple representations need explanations? The role of verbal guidance and individual differences in multimedia mathematics learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96, 492–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Moreno, R., & Flowerday, T. (2006). Students’ choice of animated pedagogical agents in science learning: A test of the similarity attraction hypothesis on gender and ethnicity. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 31, 186–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (1999a). Cognitive principles of multimedia learning: The role of modality and contiguity. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 358–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (1999b). Multimedia-supported metaphors for meaning making in mathematics. Cognition and Instruction, 17, 215–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (2000a). Engaging students in active learning: The case for personalized multimedia messages. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 724–733.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (2000b). A coherence effect in multimedia learning: The case for minimizing irrelevant sounds in the design of multimedia instructional messages. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 117–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (2002a). Learning science in virtual reality multimedia environments: Role of methods and media. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94, 598–610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (2002b). Verbal redundancy in multimedia learning: When reading helps listening. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94, 156–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (2004). Personalized messages that promote science learning in virtual environments. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96, 165–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (2005). Role of guidance, reflection, and interactivity in an agent-based multimedia game. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97, 117–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Moreno, R., Mayer, R. E., Spires, H., & Lester, J. (2001). The case for social agency in computer-based teaching: Do students learn more deeply when they interact with animated pedagogical agents? Cognition and Instruction, 19, 177–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Moreno, R., & Ortegano-Layne, L. (2007). Using cases as thinking tools in teacher education: The role of presentation format. Educational Technology Research and Development. DOI  10.1007/s11423-006-9027-0.
  68. Moreno, R., & Valdez, A. (2005). Cognitive load and learning effects of having students organize pictures and words in multimedia environments: The role of student interactivity and feedback. Educational Technology Research and Development, 53, 35–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Moreno, R., & Valdez, A. (2007). Immediate and delayed learning effects of presenting classroom cases in teacher education: Are video cases or case narratives more effective? Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 194–206.Google Scholar
  70. Morrison, M. (1998). A look at interactivity from a consumer perspective. In J. B. Ford & E. J. D. Honeycutt, Jr. (Eds.) Developments in Marketing Science (vol. 21, pp. 149–154). Norfolk, VA: Academy of Marketing Science.Google Scholar
  71. Nass, C., & Brave, S. B. (2005). Wired for speech. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  72. Paas, F., Renkl, A., & Sweller, J. (2003). Cognitive load theory and instructional design: Recent developments. Educational Psychologist, 38, 1–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Paivio, A. (1986). Mental representations: A dual coding approach. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  74. Penney, C. G. (1989). Modality effects and the structure of short-term verbal memory. Memory and Cognition, 17, 398–422.Google Scholar
  75. Pintrich, P. R. (2003). Motivation and classroom learning. In W. M. Reynolds & G. E. Miller (Eds.). Handbook of psychology: Educational psychology (pp. 103–122). New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
  76. Pollock, E., Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (2002). Assimilating complex information. Learning and Instruction, 12, 61–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Prensky, M. (2001). Digital game-based learning. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  78. Puntambekar, S., Stylianou, A., & Hübscher, R. (2003). Improving navigation and learning in hypertext environments with navigable concept maps. Human Computer Interaction, 18, 395–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Randi, J., & Corno, L. (2000). Teacher innovations in self-regulated learning. In M. Boekaerts, P. R. Pintrich & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation (pp. 651–685). San Diego: Academic.Google Scholar
  80. Ridgway, J. S., Titterington, L., & McCann, W. S. (1999). Best practices in science education. The ERIC Review, 6(2), 30–35 (Fall).Google Scholar
  81. Rieber, L. (2005). Multimedia learning with games, simulations, and microworlds. In R. E. Mayer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (pp. 549–567). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  82. Rouet, J. (2006). The skills of document use. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  83. Rouet, J., & Potelle, H. (2005). Navigational principles in multimedia learning. In R. Mayer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (pp. 297–312). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  84. Ryan, R. L., & Deci, E. M. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well being. American Psychologist, 55, 68–78.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Schank, R. C. (2002). Designing world-class e-learning. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  86. Schauble, L. (1990). Belief revision in children: The role of prior knowledge and strategies for generating evidence. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 49, 31–57.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Schwan, S., & Riempp, R. (2004). The cognitive benefits of interactive videos: Learning to tie nautical knots. Learning & Instruction, 14, 293–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Seifert, T. L. (1993). Effects of elaborative interrogation with prose passages. Journal of Educational Psychology, 85, 642–651.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Singley, M. K., & Anderson, J. R. (1989). The transfer of cognitive skill. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  90. Spiro, R. J., Feltovich, P. J., Jacobson, M. J., & Coulson, R. L. (1992). Cognitive flexibility, constructivism and hypertext: Random access instruction for advanced knowledge acquisition in ill-structured domains. In T. Duffy & D. Jonassen (Eds.), Constructivism and the Technology of Instruction. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  91. Spiro, R. J., & Jehng, J. (1990). Cognitive flexibility and hypertext: Theory and technology for the non-linear and multidimensional traversal of complex subject matter. In D. Nix & R. Spiro (Eds.), Cognition, Education, and Multimedia. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  92. Sweller, J. (1999). Instructional design in technical areas. Camberwell, Australia: ACER Press.Google Scholar
  93. Tabbers, H. (2002). The modality of text in multimedia instruction: Refining the design guidelines. Doctoral dissertation. Open University of the Netherlands, Heerlen.Google Scholar
  94. Tulving, E. (1977). Episodic and semantic memory. In E. Tulving and W. Donaldson (Eds.), Organization of memory (pp. 381–403). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  95. Tuovinen, J. E., & Sweller, J. (1999). A comparison of cognitive load associated with discovery learning and worked examples. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 334–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. van Merrienboer, J. J. G. (1997). Training complex cognitive skills. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Press.Google Scholar
  97. Wagner, E. D. (1994). In support of a functional definition of interaction. The American Journal of Distance Education, 8, 6–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Wilkerson, L., & Gijselaers, W. H. (1996). Bridging problem-based learning to higher education: Theory and practice. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  99. Woloshyn, V., Paivio, A., & Pressley, M. (1994). Use of elaborative interrogation to help students acquire information consistent with prior knowledge and information inconsistent with prior knowledge. Journal of Educational Psychology, 86, 79–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Wouters, P., Tabbers, H., & Paas, F., (2007). Interactivity in video-based models. Educational Psychology Review. DOI  10.1007/s10648-007-9045-4.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Educational Psychology ProgramUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

Personalised recommendations