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e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning, 4th Edition

ISBN: 978-1-119-15868-4
528 pages
February 2016, Pfeiffer
e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning, 4th Edition (1119158680) cover image


The essential e-learning design manual, updated with the latest research, design principles, and examples

e-Learning and the Science of Instruction is the ultimate handbook for evidence-based e-learning design. Since the first edition of this book, e-learning has grown to account for at least 40% of all training delivery media. However, digital courses often fail to reach their potential for learning effectiveness and efficiency. This guide provides research-based guidelines on how best to present content with text, graphics, and audio as well as the conditions under which those guidelines are most effective. This updated fourth edition describes the guidelines, psychology, and applications for ways to improve learning through personalization techniques, coherence, animations, and a new chapter on evidence-based game design. The chapter on the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning introduces three forms of cognitive load which are revisited throughout each chapter as the psychological basis for chapter principles. A new chapter on engagement in learning lays the groundwork for in-depth reviews of how to leverage worked examples, practice, online collaboration, and learner control to optimize learning. The updated instructor's materials include a syllabus, assignments, storyboard projects, and test items that you can adapt to your own course schedule and students.

Co-authored by the most productive instructional research scientist in the world, Dr. Richard E. Mayer, this book distills copious e-learning research into a practical manual for improving learning through optimal design and delivery.

  • Get up to date on the latest e-learning research
  • Adopt best practices for communicating information effectively
  • Use evidence-based techniques to engage your learners
  • Replace popular instructional ideas, such as learning styles with evidence-based guidelines
  • Apply evidence-based design techniques to optimize learning games

e-Learning continues to grow as an alternative or adjunct to the classroom, and correspondingly, has become a focus among researchers in learning-related fields. New findings from research laboratories can inform the design and development of e-learning. However, much of this research published in technical journals is inaccessible to those who actually design e-learning material. By collecting the latest evidence into a single volume and translating the theoretical into the practical, e-Learning and the Science of Instruction has become an essential resource for consumers and designers of multimedia learning.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction 1

1. e-Learning: Promise and Pitfalls 7

Chapter Summary 7

What Is e-Learning? 8

Is e-Learning Better? 11

Th e Promises of e?]Learning 14

Th e Pitfalls of e?]Learning 18

Inform and Perform e?]Learning Goals 19

e?-Learning Architectures 20

What Is Effective e-Courseware? 22

Learning in e-Learning 24

2. How Do People Learn from e-Courses? 29

Chapter Summary 29

How Do People Learn? 31

Managing Limited Cognitive Resources During Learning 36

How e-Lessons Affect Human Learning 39

What We Don’t Know About Learning 44

3 Evidence?-Based Practice 49

Chapter Summary 49

What Is Evidence-Based Practice? 50

Three Approaches to Research on Instructional Effectiveness 51

What to Look for in Experimental Comparisons 55

How to Interpret Research Statistics 57

How Can You Identify Relevant Research? 59

Boundary Conditions in Experimental Comparisons 60

Practical Versus Theoretical Research 61

What We Don’t Know About Evidence-Based Practice 62

4 Applying the Multimedia Principle: Use Words and Graphics Rather Than Words Alone 67

Chapter Summary 67

Do Visuals Make a Difference? 69

Multimedia Principle: Include Both Words and Graphics 70

Some Ways to Use Graphics to Promote Learning 74

Psychological Reasons for the Multimedia Principle 76

Evidence for Using Words and Pictures 77

The Multimedia Principle Works Best for Novices 80

Should You Change Static Illustrations into Animations? 81

What We Don’t Know About Visuals 84

5 Applying the Contiguity Principle: Align Words to Corresponding Graphics 89

Chapter Summary 89

Principle 1: Place Printed Words Near Corresponding Graphics 91

Violations of Contiguity Principle 1 94

Psychological Reasons for Contiguity Principle 1 99

Evidence for Contiguity Principle 1 100

Principle 2: Synchronize Spoken Words with Corresponding Graphics 104

Violations of Contiguity Principle 2 105

Psychological Reasons for Contiguity Principle 2 107

Evidence for Contiguity Principle 2 107

What We Don’t Know About Contiguity 108

6 Applying the Modality Principle: Present Words as Audio Narration Rather Than On-Screen Text 113

Chapter Summary 113

Modality Principle: Present Words as Speech Rather Than On-Screen Text 115

Limitations to the Modality Principle 117

Psychological Reasons for the Modality Principle 119

Evidence for Using Spoken Rather Than Printed Text 121

When the Modality Principle Applies 126

What We Don’t Know About Modality 127

7 Applying the Redundancy Principle: Explain Visuals with Words in Audio or Text But Not Both 131

Chapter Summary 131

Principle 1: Do Not Add On?-Screen Text to Narrated Graphics 133

Psychological Reasons for the Redundancy Principle 135

Evidence for Omitting Redundant On?]Screen Text 137

Principle 2: Consider Adding On?-Screen Text to Narration in Special Situations 139

Psychological Reasons for Exceptions to the Redundancy Principle 140

Evidence for Including Redundant On-Screen Text 142

What We Don’t Know About Redundancy 144

8 Applying the Coherence Principle: Adding Extra Material Can Hurt Learning 151

Chapter Summary 151

Principle 1: Avoid e?-Lessons with Extraneous Words 153

Psychological Reasons to Avoid Extraneous Words in e-Learning 155

Evidence for Omitting Extraneous Words Added for Interest 156

Evidence for Omitting Extraneous Words Added to Expand on Key Ideas 158

Evidence for Omitting Extraneous Words Added for Technical Depth 159

Principle 2: Avoid e?]Lessons with Extraneous Graphics 159

Psychological Reasons to Avoid Extraneous Graphics in e?-Learning 161

Evidence for Omitting Extraneous Graphics Added for Interest 162

Evidence for Using Simpler Visuals 165

Can Interesting Graphics Ever Be Helpful? 167

Principle 3: Avoid e?-Lessons with Extraneous Audio 168

Psychological Reasons to Avoid Extraneous Audio in e-Learning 170

Evidence for Omitting Extraneous Audio 170

What We Don’t Know About Coherence 172

9 Applying the Personalization and Embodiment Principles: Use Conversational Style, Polite Wording, Human Voice, and Virtual Coaches 179

Chapter Summary 179

Personalization Principle: Use Conversational Rather Than Formal Style, Polite Wording Rather Than Direct Wording, and Human Voice Rather Than Machine Voice 182

Psychological Reasons for the Personalization Principle 183

Promote Personalization Through Conversational Style 185

Promote Personalization Through Polite Speech 187

Promote Personalization Through Voice Quality 189

Embodiment Principle: Use Effective On?-Screen Coaches to Promote Learning 189

What We Don’t Know About Personalization and Embodiment 197

10 Applying the Segmenting and Pretraining Principles: Managing Complexity by Breaking a Lesson into Parts 201

Chapter Summary 201

Segmenting Principle: Break a Continuous Lesson into Bite-Size Segments 203

Psychological Reasons for the Segmenting Principle 206

Evidence for Breaking a Continuous Lesson into Bite?-Size Segments 207

Pretraining Principle: Ensure That Learners Know the Names and Characteristics of Key Concepts 209

Psychological Reasons for the Pretraining Principle 210

Evidence for Providing Pretraining in Key Concepts 212

What We Don’t Know About Segmenting and Pretraining 214

11 Engagement in e?]Learning 219

Chapter Summary 219

What Is Engagement? 221

When Behavioral Engagement Impedes Learning 224

Engagement That Leads to Generative Processing 226

A New View of Engagement 233

What We Don’t Know About Engagement 233

12 Leveraging Examples in e?-Learning 239

Chapter Summary 239

What Are Worked Examples? 240

The Psychology of Worked Examples 243

Evidence for the Benefits of Worked Examples 243

Principles to Optimize Benefits of Worked Examples 245

Principle 1: Provide Worked Examples in Lieu of Problem Assignments When the Essential Load of the Lesson Is High 246

Principle 2: Fade from Worked Examples to Problems 247

Principle 3: Promote Self-Explanations 249

Principle 4: Include Instructional Explanations of Worked Examples in Some Situations 252

Principle 5: Apply Multimedia Principles to Examples 252

Principle 6: Support Far Transfer 256

What We Don’t Know About Worked Examples 260

13 Does Practice Make Perfect? 265

Chapter Summary 265

What Is Practice in e?-Learning? 267

Is Practice a Good Investment? 270

Principle 1: Add Sufficient Practice Interactions to e?]Learning to Achieve the Objective 271

Principle 2: Mirror the Job 275

Principle 3: Provide Effective Feedback 275

Principle 4: Distribute and Mix Practice Among Learning Events 281

Principle 5: Apply Multimedia Principles 285

What We Don’t Know About Practice 287

14 Learning Together Virtually 293

Chapter Summary 292

What Is Collaborative Learning? 295

What Is Computer?-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL)? 297

Principle 1: Consider Collaborative Assignments for Challenging Tasks 302

Principle 2: Optimize Group Size, Composition, and Interdependence 304

Principle 3: Match Synchronous and Asynchronous Assignments to the Collaborative Goal 305

Principle 4: Use Collaborative Tool Features That Optimize Team Processes and Products 307

Principle 5: Maximize Social Presence in Online Collaborative Environments 308

Principle 6: Use Structured Collaboration Processes to Optimize Team Outcomes 309

What We Don’t Know About Collaborative Learning 311

15 Who’s in Control? Guidelines for e-Learning Navigation 317

Chapter Summary 317

Learner Control Versus Program Control 319

Do Learners Make Good Instructional Decisions? 323

Principle 1: Give Experienced Learners Control 327

Principle 2: Make Important Instructional Events the Default 328

Principle 3: Consider Alternative Forms of Learner Control 330

Principle 4: Give Pacing Control to All Learners 331

Principle 5: Offer Navigational Support in Hypermedia Environments 332

Th e Bottom Line 335

What We Don’t Know About Learner Control 335

16 e?-Learning to Build Thinking Skills 341

Chapter Summary 341

What Are Thinking Skills? 343

Can Thinking Skills Be Trained? 347

Principle 1: Focus on Explicit Teaching of Job-Relevant Thinking Skills 349

Principle 2: Design Lessons Around Authentic Work Tasks or Problems 353

Evidence for Problem?-Focused Instruction 358

Principle 3: Define Job-Specific Thinking Processes 361

What We Don’t Know About Teaching Thinking Skills 363

17 Learning with Computer Games 369

Chapter Summary 369

Do Games Have a Place in the Serious Business of Training? 371

Which Features Improve a Game’s Effectiveness? 372

Does Game Playing Improve Cognitive Skills? 377

Are Games More Effective Than Conventional Media? 382

What We Don’t Know About Learning with Computer Games 385

18 Applying the Guidelines 391

Chapter Summary 391

Applying the Evidence?-Based Guidelines to e-Courses 391

e?-Lesson Guidelines Checklist 396

Review of Sample 1: Excel for Small Business 401

Review of Sample 2: Synchronous Excel Lesson 406

Review of Sample 3: Automotive Troubleshooting Simulation 409

Reflections on Past Predictions 411

Beyond 2016 in Multimedia Research 413

References 419

Glossary 451

List of Tables and Figures 473

Name Index 485

Subject Index 493

About the Authors 509

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Author Information

RUTH COLVIN CLARK has focused on evidence-based practice in design and development of workforce training materials for over three decades. Her recent books include Scenario-Based e-Learning and Evidence-Based Training, Second Edition.

RICHARD E. MAYER is a professor of psychology at the University of California Santa Barbara. He is an internationally recognized researcher in multimedia learning and has authored hundreds of research reports. He is the author of many books including Multimedia Learning, Computer Games for Learning, and editor of the Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning, Second Edition.

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