12 principles of multimedia learning

Meyer’s Multimedia Learning theory suggests we can design multimedia materials to best effect by adhering to 12 principles:

  1. Coherence Principle – exclude extraneous words, pictures and sounds.
  2. Signalling Principle – include cues that highlight the organisation of the essential material
  3. Redundancy Principle – exclude redundant material which interferes with rather than facilitates learning. 
  4. Spatial Contiguity Principle – corresponding words and pictures should be presented near together rather than far apart.
  5. Temporal Contiguity Principle – Corresponding words and pictures should be presented simultaneously (not separately).
  6. Segmenting Principle – short, user-paced segments are better than as a continuous long presentation.
  7. Pre-training Principle – People learn better from a multimedia lesson when they know the names and characteristics of the key concepts.
  8. Modality Principle – graphics and narrations are more effective than animation and on-screen text.
  9. Multimedia Principle – People learn better from words and pictures than from words alone.
  10. Personalisation Principle – words should be in conversational style rather than formal style.
  11. Voice Principle – Narration in multimedia lessons is spoken in a friendly human voice rather than a machine voice.
  12. Image Principle – People do not always learn better from a multimedia lesson when the speaker’s image is added to the screen.

Mayer, R. E. (2009). Multimedia learning (2nd ed.). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Video explanation

Video – Tara Kacz (no date) Mayer’s Theory of Multimedia Learning. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aq2P0DZqEI (Accessed: 5 August 2021).