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The modality and redundancy principles revisited: do they apply in a controlled multimedia lesson?

Abstract

The modality and redundancy principles are two fundamental principles used to inform the design of multimedia instruction. They are based on a variety of experimental studies that utilized different types of multimedia lessons to compare input modes of graphics+audio, graphics+text, and graphics+audio+text with each other. However, a lack of control of multimedia lessons in previous studies creates a threat to validity because a single case scenario without following certain principles is not sufficient to represent a construct. Therefore, this study addressed this inherent validity threat and reinvestigated the applicability of the modality and redundancy principles when students learned during a controlled multimedia lesson. In this study the multimedia lesson was developed to follow a series of multimedia learning principles. These principles ensured that the lesson was representative of different types of multimedia lessons. Additionally, they ensured that the multimedia lesson was conducive to learning, since those that were not helpful would not be utilized for instruction in the first place. Eighty-six students in a research university in the US took a prior knowledge survey. They were then randomly assigned to the three input mode conditions and watched the multimedia lesson about the formation of lightning. Subsequent retention and transfer tests revealed that there were no statistically significant differences among the three input mode conditions. Therefore, both the redundancy and modality effects disappeared. This study provided an updated understanding of the applicability of the two important principles for multimedia instruction. Limitations and implications were discussed.

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Correspondence to Yinan Liu.

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Appendices

Appendix A

Demographics Questionnaire

  1. 1.

    Gender:

  2. 2.

    Age:

  3. 3.

    Your SAT score:

Prior Knowledge Survey

Please circle the number of the sentence that applies to you.

  1. 1.

    I regularly read the weather maps in the newspaper.

  2. 2.

    I know what a cold front means.

  3. 3.

    I know what cumulous and nimbus mean.

  4. 4.

    I know what a low-pressure system means.

  5. 5.

    I can explain what makes the wind blow.

  6. 6.

    I know what this symbol means:

  7. 7.

    I know what this symbol means:

  8. 8.

    I can explain how lightning works.

Please rate your knowledge of weather and circle the number of the item that applies to you.

  1. 1.

    Very little

  2. 2.

    Between very little and average

  3. 3.

    Average

  4. 4.

    Between average and very much

  5. 5.

    Very much

Please write down an explanation of how lightning works and briefly illustrate how lightning works on the diagram.

Steps Names Explanations
1   
2   
3   
4   
5   

Based on the information in the video, please explain the following terms.

Terms Explanations
Updraft  
Downdraft  
Stepped-leader  
Streamer  
Neutralization  

Based on what you have learned from the video, please answer the following questions.

(a) Before lightning, is an airplane flying on top of the clouds positively or negatively charged? And why?

(b) When you are on an open area and see lightning in the near distance, is it safe to hide in a ditch? If not, what should you do?

(c) Why do we sometimes see heavy clouds in the sky but no lightning?

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Liu, Y., Meng, X. & Roy-Campbell, Z. The modality and redundancy principles revisited: do they apply in a controlled multimedia lesson?. J Comput High Educ (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12528-022-09329-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12528-022-09329-y

Keywords

  • Modality principle
  • Redundancy principle
  • Multimedia input modes
  • Multimedia lesson