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Why keeping it simple is the key to multimedia learning

Combining words and graphics can help students to learn more deeply, according to academic Richard Mayer. But the trick is to convey the most essential information in the most straightforward way, he tells Chris Parr


There was a time when words were all that mattered. The teacher would talk, the children would copy down what they said precisely, and that was considered learning.

Allan Paivio, a researcher at the University of Western Ontario in Canada (now Western University), played a key role in shifting education away from such approaches. In 1971, he proposed the theory of dual coding, also known as dual channels, which posits that humans have two separate systems for processing verbal and pictorial information.

This finding has become one of the fundamental concepts in cognitive science. It was with ...

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