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Reflection on Multimedia and Congruity

February 12, 2013

The first principle — one should include both words and graphics (Clark and Mayer, 2011) — is a principle that I often break. Many of the powerpoint and prezis that I use often contain text that I also say during the presentation. I chuckled when I read that one mistake within this principle is that people use the words on the screen as a crutch to help them remember what they want to cover in the session (Atkinson and Mayer, 2004). I do that often because I am not as confident in my presentation ability as I would like to be! Thanks to this text, I now understand that this actually hinders learning. I plan to update my prezis and powerpoints to include much less text and more graphics to take advantage of the dual channel learning process. The text also reminded me of a book recommended to me last Fall. Presentation Zen by Reynolds (2008) which focuses on improving powerpoint through incorporating meaningful and memorable graphics and eliminating text.

Graphics should support learning. Many of my information literacy learning objectives are process or procedural, such as how to access library resources and services. Some are of course information literacy principles that students should be able transfer to new situations. However, I realized that many of my graphics are simply decorative, or representational.  I need to spend time determining higher order graphics to help meet my learning objectives.

Fortunately most of my multimedia presentations have been static text or graphics because I have not had the time to create animations. So I was happy to read that animations are often not superior to static graphics because of cognitive processing. I think that animations may be appropriate for some searching strategies, but overall screenshots and other graphics should be appropriate in tutorials that I develop.

Atkinson, C., & Mayer, R. E. (2004). Five ways to reduce powerpoint overload. Retrieved from
Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2011). E-learning and the science of instruction : proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.
Reynolds, G. (2008). Presentation zen: simple ideas on presentation design and delivery. Berkeley, CA: New Riders Pub.
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