Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 679–701 | Cite as

Spatial Contiguity and Spatial Split-Attention Effects in Multimedia Learning Environments: a Meta-Analysis

  • Noah L. SchroederEmail author
  • Ada T. Cenkci


Spatial split-attention effects have been noted in the research literature, where, under split-attention conditions, integrating text and diagrams has been shown to be effective. From this literature grew the spatial contiguity principle (or spatial contiguity effect), which states that people learn more when related words and pictures are displayed spatially near one another. Research has shown both effects to influence learning; however, little is known about the conditions in which integrated designs are most effective. This meta-analysis examines the influence of integrated designs across numerous moderator variables in order to improve our understanding of under which conditions integrated designs influence learning. A random effects meta-analysis of 58 independent comparisons (n = 2426) produced an overall effect size of g = 0.63 (p < 0.001). Moderator analyses indicated that integrated designs have benefited learning across many intervention-related and context-related moderator variables. Practical and theoretical implications of the findings are provided.


Spatial contiguity effect Spatial contiguity principle Split attention Cognitive load Meta-analysis 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (PDF 488 kb)


*Indicates study included in the analysis

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Leadership Studies in Education and OrganizationsWright State UniversityDaytonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political Science, Criminal Justice, and Organizational LeadershipNorthern Kentucky UniversityHighland HeightsUSA

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