How to Use Mayer’s 12 Principles of Multimedia Learning [Examples Included]

A simple framework to make your learning content more effective and engaging.

What is multimedia learning?

1. The Coherence Principle

How to use the Coherence Principle:

You can use the Coherence Principle as you’re planning your visual elements. Ask yourself, “Is this image 100% necessary to help with comprehension? Could I find a better image? Does this message use simple enough language so the audience will understand?”

2. The Signaling Principle

How to use the Signaling Principle:

Use the signaling principle by thoughtfully highlighting important words. Use animated arrows and annotations to call out important information.

3. The Redundancy Principle

How to use the Redundancy Principle:

You can use this principle for videos or eLearning courses that have narrated audio. Create your videos with graphics or text, but not both together. If you do include both, make sure your text is minimal.

4. The Spatial Contiguity Principle

How to use the Spatial Contiguity Principle:

If you’re creating a video, keep all related text and graphics physically close together in your frame. This makes it easier for learners to process the information, using less energy to determine meaning. Make it easy for your audience to know where to look for information.

5. The Temporal Contiguity Principle

How to use the Temporal Contiguity Principle:

If you’re introducing a new process, the animation (or visual) should be occurring at the same time as the voiceover audio. This is preferred to having the voiceover audio play first, then watching a visual after. You can use this by making sure your voiceover audio is always timed well with your visuals or animations.

6. The Segmenting Principle

How to use the Segmenting Principle:

You can use this principle by providing learners with more control over their learning. Add next buttons. Allow video speed control up to 2x. Provide closed captioning on/off.

7. The Pre-Training Principle

How to use the Pre-Training Principle:

Create an introductory “guide” or “cheat sheet” for learners to use before they take your course. Or create an entire “pre-training” lesson dedicated to understanding the basics, before the learner moves into the actual course.

8. The Modality Principle

How to use the Modality Principle:

Use less text on the screen. Use more visuals. If you need to, use text minimally to define key terms, list steps, or provide directions.

9. The Multimedia Principle

How to use the Multimedia Principle:

Think about the images you choose carefully. Each visual should help your audience understand the information better.

10. The Personalization Principle

How to use the Personalization Principle:

Keep your language simple and easy to understand. Avoid using jargon or overly professional text, and try to use the first person (you, I, we, our). You can also match the tone of your voiceover to enhance personalization.

11. The Voice Principle

How to use the Voice Principle:

Use a human for audio narration and voiceovers. Record your own or hire a professional. To ensure that your audio sounds high quality, use a professional microphone and master the audio in editing software.

12. The Image Principle

How to use the Image Principle:

I believe talking heads do provide some value for the learner by building credibility and trust with the instructor. Once established, you can limit your talking head video as the course dives deeper into the content. Animations and visuals are helpful tools to reinforce the audio voiceover.

Bio

I’m Andrew DeBell and I create digital learning content. With 9+ years of experience, I’m skilled at writing, video editing, visual design, and eLearning development. Here on Medium, I mostly write about learning, content, marketing, and tech.

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I create content for a living. Interested in plants, technology, and sandwiches. Trying to figure out how the human animal behaves.

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Andrew DeBell

I create content for a living. Interested in plants, technology, and sandwiches. Trying to figure out how the human animal behaves.