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Multimedia and learning: an empirical investigation for media combinations and learning

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posted on 11.05.2022, 12:50 by Ahmed Al-Sharrah

Developments in distance learning education have revealed difficulties in providing education “at a distance”. It has been suggested that these deficiencies might be overcome through the use of better-designed interfaces exploiting the capabilities of multimedia interface design techniques. A framework for characterising media is identified and the Dual Coding Theory of Cognition is identified as a possible theoretical basis for examining the effects of media on learning.

A pilot experiment compared the effects of teaching identical material on statistics in both a face-to-face manner and wholly on-line. The objective of the experiment was to determine what problems emerged in carrying out such experimentation and what the student response would be. This was then followed by a set of empirical investigations on how different combinations of media affect learning outcomes in computer-based education. In particular, it examined if there is a relationship between the media combinations and the learning styles of the students.

Specifically the following hypotheses were tested.

(1) Presentations using sound and diagrams result in better recall than text and diagrams, and text-only for modules presenting statistical knowledge.

(2) Presentations using text and diagrams results in better recall than text-only presentations for each valid learning unit.

(3) Specific styles of learning have better recall than others for each valid learning unit. These hypotheses were examined in a large-scale experiment in which three different presentation styles were presented (Voice over+Diagrams, Text + Diagrams, and Text Only) to large numbers of students.

The results show firstly that there are indeed media effects when the same information is presented in different ways as predicted by Dual Coding Theory. The combination of voice and diagrams resulted in superior recall of knowledge in all cases and was very persistent over all subject groups and conditions. Finally, a significant effect was observed in recall between Sensor and Intuitor Learners. The work suggests that Dual Coding theory can provide a theoretical framework upon which media combinations can be incorporated into interface design.


Government of Kuwait



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  • Computer Science


Loughborough University

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© Ahmed Al-Sharrah

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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James Alty

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