Coherence Analysis

Multimedia presentations are often used for learning in our world today. They can be very powerful and provide learners with great understanding of concepts. A question that comes to mind is; does adding embellishments such as sound and graphics to spruce up the presentation have an impact on the retention and comprehension of the subject matter? According to the Coherence Principle, the added embellishments have a negative effect on the learning outcome.

The embellishments that are being referred to in this principle are pictures, sound effects, and/or background music added to a narrated presentation. Based on research, the working memory becomes overloaded when there is too much to piece together. As human beings, we try to find connections between the narration and images, sounds, or music that are being presented. With narration going on simultaneously, the learner will experience a heavy cognitive load which will lead to the learner not being able to recall as much of the information as he/she would without all the embellishments. This is especially true when presenting unfamiliar material, when going through the material quickly, or when the learner cannot control the rate of the presentation (Clark & Mayer, 2008, p. 154).

Mayer’s researched the use of multimedia aids in problem solving transfer. This research concluded that “Students are better able to integrate verbal and visual representation when they receive both verbal and visual materials rather than when they receive only verbal material” (Mayer, 1999). If the visual material is not presented at the same time, students construct a mental mode that is insufficient. This study was done with scientific explanations with visual aids help students form a mental model for the process or steps of the material being learned.

There is a definite relationship between the Coherence Principle and other multimedia learning theories. The Cognitive Theory states that learners are more likely to understand the material if they are actively engaged. For example, learners are engaged in relevant cognitive processing when they focus on the relevant lesson material, mentally organize the material into a coherent cognitive representation, and relate the material to their previous knowledge (Clark & Mayer, 2008, p. 57). When students are not overstimulated through cognitive overload when presented with new information, they will retain the concept and perform better on tests. Presentations that have simple drawings and relevant graphics will help students from becoming cognitively overloaded. The contiguity principle explains that information needs to be presented in close proximity to each other in order for the relationship of the words and pictures to make sense to the learner (Clark & Mayer, 2008, p. 89). To ensure that the learner is gaining knowledge without being cognitive overloaded, the coherence and contiguity principle work together.

Students learn better when extraneous material is excluded from multimedia lessons (Moreno & Mayer, 2000).  Since I started learning more about educational technology in my classes, I have noticed that I have been more critical of the PowerPoint presentations I use with my students as well as the presentations that are shared with me. A few weeks ago I used a presentation to teach my students fractions that I had created in a previous class that aligned with the Coherence Principle and at the end of the lesson several of my students commented on how fractions finally made sense to them. I have also had an experience where there extraneous material in a multimedia presentation that was used for training. I had to view a training video that was created by one of my co-workers earlier this year. During the presentation, there were a lot of decorative images that did not seem to go with the topic. There were also several animated images that kept repeating the same thing over and over again that also did not go with the topic. I became fixated on the images and did not pay attention to the topic that was trying to be addressed.

From my experience, I have found that the Coherence Principle does make a difference in learning. However, there is still more research that should be conducted with this topic in regards to how this applies to younger students since these studies were conducted with college students.


Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2008). E-learning and the science of instruction, 2nd edition.Pfeiffer: San Francisco, CA.

Mayer, R. E. (1999). Multimedia aids to problem-solving transfer. International Journal of Educational Research31(7), 611-623.

Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (2000). A learner-centered approach to multimedia explanations: Deriving instructional design principles from cognitive theory. Interactive Multimedia Electronic Journal of Computer-Enhanced Learning2(2), 2004-07. Retrieved April 1, 2014 from


Podcast: Teaching Writing in a Virtual Environment

For this assignment, I created a podcast for writing in the virtual learning environment. I chose this topic because this as been one of the struggles I have had moving from a brick and mortar school to an online school. This assignment has been hard for me. Since I was working with a broken finger, editing was very difficult and could not edit it as much as I will in the future. I used Audacity to record and edit this episode. This program is nice because it is fairly easy to navigate and it is free.

This is my first time using Dropbox. This online program that allows you to add documents to access from anywhere you have internet access. It was easy to install and use. Below is the link to this file for my introduction podcast on teaching writing in a virtual environment.

Teaching Writing in a Virtual Environment: Episode 1.

Outline of Episode 1:

  1. Show intro monologue
  2. Intro music
  3. Different than brick and mortar schools
  4. What has worked well
  5. Interlude music
  6. Graphic organizers- synchronous lessons/recordings
  7. Closing remarks
  8. Closing music



Contiguity Multimedia Instruction

I created a simple presentation to show how to show students how to use a protractor. This is a skill students must know in order to measure angles. This presentation uses the principles of multimedia and contiguity because the images go with the instruction. There is very little text in the presentation so that learners focus and attention is on the skill being taught.

Communication Plan

There are many different ways to create a communication plan so it took me a while to decide where I wanted to go with this. I want it to be something useful for me to use with my fourth grade students. Since last semester, I have wanted to try to do some type of discussion board. So, I created a communication plan for me to use with my students next school year. This assignment helped me come up with the procedures I want to use to facilitate discussion boards as part of my students learning experience.

There were many great articles I read that gave me a better understanding about what I need to do to prepare myself to use a discussion board effectively with my students. I have a better grasp on how to get this started. A couple of the articles I will refer back to are Carnegie Mellon: Enhancing Education and Generating and Facilitating Engaging and Effective Online Discussions. I found both of these articles very helpful in preparing my plan.

The first two discussion board activities in my plan are essential in establishing the class community. I added netiquette as part of the activities and rubric since this will be very important to establish a respectful cooperative online community which will help students learn how to communicate appropriately and to avoid inappropriate content or language postings. Discussion boards are going to be new to most of my online students. They are used to social media and tend to use what I call the text version of acronyms at this age. I feel that to make this appealing and more to this grade by allowing a class selected acronym bank to use. Part of my netiquette rules/guidelines will include acronym usage. I also feel that as a social media generation, we need to learn to communicate through technology properly.