Readdressing the Redundancy Effect: A Cognitive Strategy for E-learning Design

Sylvie Studente (Faculty of Business and Management, Regent’s University London, UK)
Filia Garivaldis (School of Psychology and Psychiatry, Monash University, Australia)
Nina Seppala (School of Management, University College London, UK)

Article ID: 580



This study challenges understandings on the ‘redundancy effect’ of cognitive load theory and visual/verbal classifications of dual-coding theory. Current understandings assert that a multimedia mix of narration and text displayed during e-learning leads to cognitive overload, thus, impeding learning[1,2]. Previous research suggests that for optimal learning to occur, the most effective multimedia mix for e-learning presentation is the use of graphics and narration[3-6].

The current study was undertaken with 90 undergraduate students at a British University. Participants were allocated to one of three groups. Each group used a different multimedia mix of a music e-learning program. Participants received learning material electronically, which involved either a mix of narration and text, graphics and text, or graphics and narration. Learning was measured by differences in music knowledge scores obtained before and after receiving the learning material. Results indicate that the combination of text and narration is most effective for learning, compared to combinations of graphics and text and graphics and narration. These findings challenge the currently accepted stance on the redundancy effect in e-learning design.


Learning; Memory; Working memory; Graphical user interfaces

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