Learning from Multimedia and Hypermedia

  • Peter Gerjets
  • Paul Kirschner


Computer-based multimedia and hypermedia resources (e.g., the world wide web) have become one of the primary sources of academic information for a majority of pupils and students. In line with this expansion in the field of education, the scientific study of learning from multimedia and hypermedia has become a very active field of research. In this chapter we provide a short overview with regard to research on learning with multimedia and hypermedia. In two review sections, we describe the educational benefits of multiple representations and of learner control, as these are the two defining characteristics of hypermedia. In a third review section we describe recent scientific trends in the field of multimedia/hypermedia learning. In all three review sections we will point to relevant European work on multimedia/hypermedia carried out within the last 5 years, and often carried out within the Kaleidoscope Network of Excellence. According to the interdisciplinary nature of the field this work might come not only from psychology, but also from technology or pedagogy. Comparing the different research activities on multimedia and hypermedia that have dominated the international scientific discourse in the last decade reveals some important differences. Most important, a gap seems to exist between researchers mainly interested in a “serious” educational use of multimedia/hypermedia and researchers mainly interested in “serious” experimental research on learning with multimedia/hypermedia. Recent discussions about the pros and cons of “design-based research” or “use-inspired basic research” can be seen as a direct consequence of an increasing awareness of the tensions within these two different cultures of research on education.


Multimedia Hypermedia Learner control Use-inspired basic research Design research 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Knowledge Media Research CenterUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany
  2. 2.Netherlands Laboratory for Lifelong Learning/Department of PsychologyOpen University of the NetherlandsHeerlenThe Netherlands

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