A multimedia instructional message is a communication using
words and pictures that is intended to promote learning.
For example, a multimedia instructional message in a book
could include printed text and illustrations, whereas a
multimedia instructional message on a computer could include
narration and animation.
Richard Mayer (2003) p.21
4. 7 principle of multimedia design
Multimedia principle: Students learn better from words and pictures than from
Spatial Contiguity Principle: Students learn better when corresponding words
and pictures are presented near rather than far from each other on the page or
Temporal Contiguity Principle: Students learn better when corresponding words
and pictures are presented simultaneously rather than successively.
Coherence Principle: Students learn better when extraneous
words, pictures, and sounds are excluded rather than included.
Modality Principle: Students learn better from animation and narration than from
animation and on-screen text.
Redundancy Principle: Students learn better from animation and narration than
from animation, narration, and on-screen text.
Individual Differences Principle: Design effects are stronger for low-knowledge
learners than for high-knowledge learners and for high-spatial learners rather
than low-spatial learners.
Colours go in and out of fashion. Bright
colours are used to demand attention and
make a statement. Designers of luxury items
want their products to appear reputable and
durable, and be seen to outlast the fashion of
the day; gaudy colours such as bright pinks
and yellows are unlikely.
Australians live in a hot, dry environment so
often use cool colours (such as pastel tints) in
their buildings to make their physical
environment seem cooler. In a European
environment that is predominantly cold you
tend to see warm, bright primary
colours, creating a cheerful, cosy illusion.
Culture and history shape colour choice. If you
visit Asia you will find temples painted in
bright, primary colours. A European church is
more likely to have more sombre colours.
Contrast can be the most important visual aspect of a page. The
principle is to avoid elements on the page that are merely similar
– if they are not the same – then make them VERY different.
To create interest
Aid in the organisation of information
Supports visual hierarchy
Eg. use of colour
Repeat visual elements throughout – colour, shape, etc.
Develops organisation and strengthens the unity.
To unify and add interest
Eg. navigation, colour identifiers, layout – anything your learner
may visually recognize.
Avoid repeating the element so much that it becomes annoying
and distracts from the message
Nothing should be placed on your page randomly. Every element
should have some visual connection with another element on the
This creates a clean, sophisticated look.
To unify and organize your page design
Be conscious of where you place your elements – always try to
find something that aligns them
More than 1 type of text alignment on the same page
Don’t always centre align
Items relating to each other should be group close
together. Items in close proximity become one visual unit
rather than several separate, unrelated units.
Reduces clutter and confusing your reader
Organizes information – reduces cognitive load
Logical information is more likely to be remembered
16. References and acknowledgements
Mayer, Richard E. & Moreno, Roxana 2003, Nine Ways to Reduce
Cognitive Load in Multimedia Learning in Educational
Psychologist, 38 (1), pp43-52.
Clark, Ruth Colvin & Mayer, Richard, 2002, e-Learning and the
Science of Instruction, Pfeiffer, USA.
Gotz, V. 1998, Color & Type for the Screen, Rotovision
Kristof, Ray & Satran, A 1995, Interactivity by Design – Creating &
Communicating with New Media, Adobe Press, USA
Lynch, Patrick J. & Horton, Sarah 1999, Web Style Guide – Basic
Design Principles for Creating Web Sites, Yale University Press.
Williams, Robin 1994, The Non-designer’s Design Book, Peachpit
This presentation is adapted from the 2009 E-learning Design
Activity Guide compiled by Anne Bartlett-Bragg.