Multimedia Presentations

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Many schools encourage the use of technology in the classroom in an attempt to keep it from becoming outdated and boring. More importantly, as the technology at the hands of learners changes, so must the way they learn. A great example of this is the use of multimedia, more specifically presentations tools like powerpoint, in conjunction with lecture. That being said, much research has looked at how to properly employ the use of powerpoint. Here is a list of what the latest research tells us:

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-Be wary of redundancy. Research by Jamet and Le Bohec in 2006 showed a negative effect on several forms of information recall for students presented with powerpoint presentations that directly mirrored the instructor's lecture.

-Concise is better. Research in 2003 by Bartsch and Cohern showed that elaborate powerpoint features such as unrelated images, sounds and extraneous information impaired student learning.

-Draw your own graphs. Research in 2003 by Stern, Aprea and Ebner showed that groups presented with a graph that was ‘actively illustrated’ performed better in recall tasks than groups passively presented with the same graph.

Click here to access Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics, a website with additional information on effectively employing multimedia learning in the economics classroom.

"9 Ways to Reduce Cognitive Load in Multimedia Learning" (Mayer & Moreno, 2003)

This paper by Mayer and Moreno addresses the problems inherent of using multimedia when teaching. The author propose a theory of multimedia learning based on 3 assumptions: the dual-channel assumption, the limited-capacity assumption, and the active-processing assumption. The dual-channel assumption asserts that humans process verbal and visual in separate systems. The limited-capacity assumption asserts that a limit exists as to the amount of information each system can process at any given time. The active-processing assumption asserts that meaningful learning represents necessitates higher cognitive processes such as building connections between verbal and visual representations of information. Based on these assumptions, the authors put forth the idea of Cognitive Overload which occurs when a learner's cognitive capacity is exceeded by the amount of cognitive processing desired by the learner. Having identified the problem of Cognitive Overload and the assumptions made, the authors proceed to propose several ways of alleviating it. These ideas/theories are as follows:

Main Tips/Methods to Incorporate in the Economics Classroom:

For the original article, click here.



Multimedia should serve as a guide to lecture, not compete with the teacher. This means teachers have to be careful to not only keep student attention, but also make smart multimedia decisions to ensure every minute of lecture is transmitting information to the student in an efficient, engaging way.