Unit 2: Design Principles of Multimedia


Unit 2: Design Principles of Multimedia

TribulletMag.pngLearning Objectives

Upon completion of this unit learners will:

  • demonstrate understanding of multimedia design principles.


Topic: principles of multimedia design

When incorporating media in online learning, there are many design principles that course developers should consider which impact student learning. For instance, video and animation may not always be the best way to illustrate complicated processes. One way that multimedia can be better utilized to illustrate complicated processes is by giving the users more control over the media through a user interface for navigation. Students can process and retain information more easily when they can control the pace and even the sequence of media.

Richard E. Mayer's work has contributed greatly to understanding the impact of multimedia on learners. Follow this link to read an excellent summary of Mayer's principles for the design of multimedia for learning.

A Word or Two about Copyright:

In addition to media design considerations, you must be cognizant of and adhere to copyright and usage requirements of the any media you intend to use that isn't your own creation. Most online resources have a "terms of use" or copyright link. For example the NASA resources link to the following page of usage guidelines: Using NASA Imagery and Linking to NASA Web Sites

Thoughts on Accessibility:

When choosing or designing multimedia for education, instructional designers must take into account the accessibility of the media -- if the media isn't usable by all learners, alternative delivery or accommodations must be made.

TribulletMag.pngLearning Activities


Skim the introductions and conclusions of the following articles, paying particular attention to the recommendations, criticisms, merits and limitations of multimedia design for education addressed by the authors.:

Muller, D., Sharma, M., & Reimann, P. (2008). Raising cognitive load with linear multimedia to promote conceptual change. Science Education, 92(2), 278-296.
Mayer, R., Hegarty, M., Mayer, S., & Campbell, J. (2005). When Static Media Promote Active Learning: Annotated Illustrations Versus Narrated Animations in Multimedia Instruction. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 11(4), 256-265.
Moneta, G., & Kekkonen-Moneta, S. (2007). Affective Learning in Online Multimedia and Lecture Versions of an Introductory Computing Course. Educational Psychology, 27(1), 51-74.


Topic: multimedia and learing.

Using our discussion board in ANGEL, summarize key points in the readings. Do you agree or disagree with the authors? In addition, find, share and discuss one research study that supports your opinion or furthers your understanding on the topic of multimedia and learning.

Share a Resource

Post a link to a multimedia resource in our resource sharing board in ANGEL.


Reflect upon the following question in your personal blog in ANGEL:

  • How might what you've learned impact your multimedia choices and implementation?

TribulletMag.pngResources for Further Exploration

Basic Design Principles tutorial

Universal Design in Education: An Online Tutorial


In this unit you've learned about design principles of multimedia and how they impact student learning. You are now ready to proceed to Unit 3 where you will become familiar with techniques for implementing multimedia in your courses.


Proceed to Unit 3: Multimedia Tools and Techniques

Return to Multimedia in Online Courses main page.
Return to Unit 1: Multimedia Overview