Features of Computerized Multimedia Environments that Support Vicarious Learning Processes

  • Barry Gholson
  • Roby Coles
  • Scotty D. Craig


The aim of this chapter is to identify specific features of computer-based multimedia environments that support vicarious learning. As used here vicarious learning occurs in contexts, such as distance learning and some classroom settings, in which learners have no opportunities to physically interact in any way with the source of the content they are attempting to master. We primarily focus on research that identified features of multimedia environments that support vicarious comprehension/learning processes and how these features have been (or may be) readily implemented. Research findings from laboratory-style research in these environments are quite promising. For example, providing multiple perspectives on new information and using a personalized presentation style improve comprehension, but these findings have not been widely implemented in web-based environments or in classroom applications. Similarly, introducing new course content in the context of vicarious deep questions enhances learning, as does providing explanations that state something beyond the information given. We also explore selected research in which learners engaged in supplemental overt activities designed to support learning gains in otherwise vicarious environments. The intent in this latter section is to suggest how vicarious analogs of these overt activities may be readily implemented.


Learning Gain Deep Question Overt Activity Vicarious Learning Multimedia Environment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant # R305H0R0169 to The University of Memphis. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University of MemphisMemphisUSA

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