mobile icon

Multimedia in the Classroom

Working groupMultiple Representations Lab
FundingDeutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, IWM budget resources
Project description

Multimedia-based material is often used in school education to depict complex relations. However, students do not always use the material in a way that is beneficial for learning. For instance, they fail to use adequate learning strategies or do not invest enough effort. The project dealt with the question of which motivational and cognitive learning strategies are helpful and how they can be supported when learning with multimedia.

Learning from multimedia (text-picture-combinations) is a common method in school education to depict complex relations in a graphical manner. However, students often use those depictions insufficiently. The project that was part of the DFG-supported research group ‘Analysis and Promotion of Effective Processes of Learning and Instruction’ aimed at investigating interventions to support multimedia learning. In its first funding period it was investigated how multimedia learning under ecologically valid circumstances can be improved by optimizing the design of the material. An advantage of multimedia learning materials was also found in a classroom context; however, learners’ individual characteristics, such as their reading skills or motivation, had a much larger impact on their learning outcomes than the instruction design. In the second and third funding period the focus was on the impact of the availability of effective learning strategies as well as the willingness to process the multimedia material intensively and deliberately. In the second funding period if-then-plans (implementation intentions) were shown to be a helpful intervention to support the use of cognitive learning strategies, thereby improving learning outcome. Implementation intentions as an intervention to increase the willingness of investing effort were investigated in the third funding period. Furthermore, the effectivity of implementation intentions relating to cognitive strategies was compared to the effectivity of implementation intentions relating to motivational support in a dissertation project. The results did not coincide with the current state of research and with our own preliminary work on the effectiveness of intentions as an effective way of supporting goal-relevant behavior.


Stalbovs, K., Scheiter, K., & Gerjets, P. (2015). Implementation intentions during multimedia learning: Using if-then plans to facilitate cognitive processing. Learning and Instruction, 35, 1-15. request document

Scheiter, K., Schüler, A., Gerjets, P., Huk, T., & Hesse, F. W. (2014). Extending multimedia research: How do prerequisite knowledge and reading comprehension affect learning from text and pictures. Computers in Human Behavior, 31, 73-84. request document