e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: ProvenGuidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning, Third Edition
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Praise for The Third Edition of e-Learning and the Science of Instruction

"If you design online learning, e-Learning and the Science of Instruction is a 'must read.' Unlike all the pontificating and conjecture that's been published about elearning, this important work details the evidence-based findings that provide practical guidelines for effective online instructional design. For me, this book is the 'bible' of our profession."
Peter Orton, Ph.D., IBM Center for Advanced Learning

"The partnership between Ruth Clark and Richard Mayer in writing successive editions of e-Learning and the Science of Instruction has provided us with one of the most important collaborations in our discipline. Their ability to communicate complex concepts in clear, indeed sparkling prose is unrivalled. In e-Learning and the Science of Instruction, we have a book for everyone including students, professional instructional designers and researchers."
John Sweller, professor, School of Education, University of New South Wales

"For the experienced instructional designer, having this supportive research provides the rationale needed to obtain consensus from a training development team."
David L. Bennett, senior training program developer, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding

"Graduate students, undergraduate students, or employees responsible for designing and developing educational software will benefit from e-Learning and the Science of Instruction. It opens your eyes to interesting ideas that you have never thought of when designing an e-course."
Thair Hamtini, chairman of the computer information systems department, The University of Jordan


Ruth Colvin Clark has worked for more than thirty years with instructional professionals assigned to design, develop, and select effective training for classroom or computer delivery. She is widely published in the areas of training, development, and performance improvement.

Richard E. Mayer is professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is an internationally-recognized expert in the application of learning psychology to design of instruction in multimedia learning environments, as well as the author of Multimedia Learning and the editor of the Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning.


Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction 1

1. e-Learning: Promise and Pitfalls 7

What Is e-Learning? 8

Is e-Learning Better? 11

The Promise of e-Learning 14

The Pitfalls of e-Learning 19

Inform and Perform e-Learning Goals 20

e-Learning Architectures 22

What Is Effective e-Courseware? 23

Learning in e-Learning 25

2. How Do People Learn from e-Courses? 29

How Do People Learn? 31

How e-Lessons Affect Human Learning 39

What We Don’t Know About Learning 44

3. Evidence-Based Practice 49

What Is Evidence-Based Practice? 50

Three Approaches to Research on Instructional Effectiveness 51

What to Look for in Experimental Comparisons 55

How to Interpret No Effect in Experimental Comparisons 57

How to Interpret Research Statistics 58

How Can You Identify Relevant Research? 61

What We Don’t Know About Evidence-Based Practice 62

4. Applying the Multimedia Principle: Use Words and Graphics Rather Than Words Alone 67

Do Visuals Make a Difference? 69

Multimedia Principle: Include Both Words and Graphics 70

Some Ways to Use Graphics to Promote Learning 74

Psychological Reasons for the Multimedia Principle 78

Evidence for Using Words and Pictures 79

The Multimedia Principle Works Best for Novices 83

Should You Change Static Illustrations into Animations? 84

What We Don’t Know About Visuals 86

5. Applying the Contiguity Principle: Align Words to Corresponding Graphics 91

Contiguity Principle 1: Place Printed Words Near Corresponding Graphics 93

Contiguity Principle 2: Synchronize Spoken Words with Corresponding Graphics 102

Psychological Reasons for the Contiguity Principle 104

Evidence for Presenting Printed Words Near Corresponding Graphics 106

Evidence for Presenting Spoken Words at the Same Time as Corresponding Graphics 109

What We Don’t Know About Contiguity 110

6. Applying the Modality Principle: Present Words as Audio Narration Rather Than On-Screen Text 115

Modality Principle: Present Words as Speech Rather Than On-Screen Text 117

Limitations to the Modality Principle 119

Psychological Reasons for the Modality Principle 121

Evidence for Using Spoken Rather Than Printed Text 123

When the Modality Principle Applies 128

What We Don’t Know About Modality 129

7. Applying the Redundancy Principle: Explain Visuals with Words in Audio OR Text: Not Both 133

Redundancy Principle 1: Do Not Add On-Screen Text to Narrated Graphics 135

Psychological Reasons for the Redundancy Principle 137

Evidence for Omitting Redundant On-Screen Text 139

Redundancy Principle 2: Consider Adding On-Screen Text to Narration in Special Situations 141

Psychological Reasons for Exceptions to the Redundancy Principle 142

Evidence for Including Redundant On-Screen Text 144

What We Don’t Know About Redundancy 146

8. Applying the Coherence Principle: Adding Material Can Hurt Learning 151

Coherence Principle 1: Avoid e-Lessons with Extraneous Audio 153

Psychological Reasons to Avoid Extraneous Audio in e-Learning 156

Evidence for Omitting Extraneous Audio 157

Coherence Principle 2: Avoid e-Lessons with Extraneous Graphics 159

Psychological Reasons to Avoid Extraneous Graphics in e-Learning 160

Evidence for Omitting Extraneous Graphics Added for Interest 161

Evidence for Using Simpler Visuals 164

Coherence Principle 3: Avoid e-Lessons with Extraneous Words 166

Psychological Reasons to Avoid Extraneous Words in e-Learning 168

Evidence for Omitting Extraneous Words Added for Interest 168

Evidence for Omitting Extraneous Words Added to Expand on Key Ideas 170

Evidence for Omitting Extraneous Words Added for Technical Depth 172

What We Don’t Know About Coherence 172

9. Applying the Personalization Principle: Use Conversational Style and Virtual Coaches 179

Personalization Principle 1: Use Conversational Rather Than Formal Style 182

Psychological Reasons for the Personalization Principle 183

Evidence for Using Conversational Style 185

Promote Personalization Through Voice Quality 188

Promote Personalization Through Polite Speech 189

Personalization Principle 2: Use Effective On-Screen Coaches to Promote Learning 191

Personalization Principle 3: Make the Author Visible to Promote Learning 197

Psychological Reasons for Using a Visible Author 200

Evidence for the Visible Author 200

What We Don’t Know About Personalization 201

10. Applying the Segmenting and Pretraining Principles: Managing Complexity by Breaking a Lesson into Parts 205

Segmenting Principle: Break a Continuous Lesson into Bite-Size Segments 207

Psychological Reasons for the Segmenting Principle 210

Evidence for Breaking a Continuous Lesson into Bite-Size Segments 211

Pretraining Principle: Ensure That Learners Know the Names and Characteristics of Key Concepts 212

Psychological Reasons for the Pretraining Principle 214

Evidence for Providing Pretraining in Key Concepts 216

What We Don’t Know About Segmenting and Pretraining 218

11. Leveraging Examples in e-Learning 223

What Are Worked Examples? 224

The Psychology of Worked Examples 227

Evidence for the Benefi ts of Worked Examples 227

Worked Example Principle 1: Fade from Worked Examples to Problems 229

Worked Example Principle 2: Promote Self-Explanations 231

Worked Example Principle 3: Include Instructional Explanations of Worked Examples in Some Situations 234

Worked Example Principle 4: Apply Multimedia Principles to Examples 235

Worked Example Principle 5: Support Learning Transfer 239

Design Guidelines for Far Transfer Worked Examples 240

What We Don’t Know About Worked Examples 245

12. Does Practice Make Perfect? 251

What Is Practice in e-Learning? 253

The Paradox of Practice 255

Practice Principle 1: Add Suffi cient Practice Interactions to e-Learning to Achieve the Objective 257

Practice Principle 2: Mirror the Job 262

Practice Principle 3: Provide Effective Feedback 263

Practice Principle 4: Distribute and Mix Practice Among Learning Events 267

Practice Principle 5: Apply Multimedia Principles 272

Practice Principle 6: Transition from Examples to Practice Gradually 274

What We Don’t Know About Practice 274

13. Learning Together Virtually 279

What Is Collaborative Learning? 280

What Is Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL)? 284

Some Generalizations About Collaboration 288

CSCL Research Summaries 292

Structured Controversy 300

CSCL: The Bottom Line 303

What We Don’t Know About CSCL 303

14. Who’s in Control? Guidelines for e-Learning Navigation 309

Learner Control Versus Program Control 311

Do Learners Make Good Instructional Decisions? 315

Learner Control Principle 1: Give Experienced Learners Control 319

Learner Control Principle 2: Make Important Instructional Events the Default 322

Learner Control Principle 3: Consider Adaptive Control 323

Learner Control Principle 4: Give Pacing Control 327

Learner Control Principle 5: Offer Navigational Support in Hypermedia Environments 329

What We Don’t Know About Learner Control 333

15. e-Learning to Build Thinking Skills 339

Three Types of Thinking Skills 341

Can Thinking Skills Be Trained? 343

Thinking Skills Principle 1: Focus on Job-Specific Cognitive and Metacognitive Skills 344

Thinking Skills Principle 2: Consider a Whole-Task Course Design 345

Evidence for Whole-Task Instruction 351

Thinking Skills Principle 3: Make Thinking Processes Explicit 355

Thinking Skills Principle 4: Defi ne Job-Specifi c Thinking Processes 360

Teaching Thinking Skills: The Bottom Line 363

What We Don’t Know About Teaching Thinking Skills 364

16. Simulations and Games in e-Learning 369

The Case for Simulations and Games 372

What Are Simulations and Games? 374

Do Games and Simulations Teach? 378

Games and Simulations Principle 1: Match Game Types to Learning Goals 381

Games and Simulations Principle 2: Make Learning Essential to Game Progress 382

Games and Simulations Principle 3: Build in Proven Instructional Strategies 382

Games and Simulations Principle 4: Build in Guidance and Structure 386

Games and Simulations Principle 5: Manage Complexity 389

Games and Simulations Principle 6: Make Relevance Salient 393

What We Don’t Know About Games and Simulations 394

17. Applying the Guidelines 401

Applying Evidence-Based Guidelines to e-Courses 401

e-Lesson Reviews 404

Review of Sample 1: Asynchronous e-Lesson on Excel for Small Business 409

Review of Sample 2: Synchronous e-Lesson on Excel 414

Review of Sample 3: Automotive Troubleshooting Simulation 418

Reflections on Past Predictions 421

Beyond 2011 423

In Conclusion 424

References 425

Glossary 453

List of Tables and Figures 475

Name Index 487

Subject Index 493

About the Authors 501

Pfeiffer Publications Guide 503