Education leaders have long discussed different learning styles and methods as vital considerations for teachers. One leading ideology – Mayer’s Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning – highlights the fact that people tend to need stimulation on multiple levels to take material to its full capacity. A Learning-Theories.com article states that Mayer’s theory centers around the fact that the human brain processes information through multiple channels, with a particular focus on audio and visual. As such, using only one media type to engage a learner will leave them falling behind.
Elearning technologies can help you engage users on multiple levels more meaningfully by combining text, video, animations, detailed graphics and audio.
Unpacking Mayer’s theory
According to Mayer, an individual’s ability to take in information through audio and visual channels is inherently limited to a certain degree. Essentially, each means of learning has a cap, so if somebody has taken in as much audio stimulation as they can handle at a given moment, everything else will just slip into the background. By engaging both audio and visual receptors at the same time, individuals can take in more information simultaneously and have a better chance of recalling that information.
Mayer’s theory argues that humans naturally prioritize the stimulation around them to take in combinations of sound and visuals as they learn. Connecting visual and auditory content in meaningful ways creates the most powerful learning experience possible. Being equally engaged in both channels can improve focus.
Using eLearning to leverage media diversity
Creating a controlled, media-diverse environment is simplified through eLearning, as users can access content when it is most convenient for them. Furthermore, the digital nature of eLearning courses makes it easier to integrate animations, video and similar multimedia content. All of these factors add up to make eLearning ideal when it comes to maximizing the results of learning based on Mayer’s theories.