E-Learning Principles

E-Learning Principles

From E-Learning and the Science of Instruction by Ruth Clark and Richard Mayer

Cognitive Learning Theory-

An explanation of how people learn based on the idea of dual channels( information is processed in visual and auditory channels), limited capacity ( only an small amount of information can be processed in each channel at one time) and active learning (meaningful learning occurs when learners pay attention to information, organize it and integrate it.)

Contiguity Principle-

People learn more deeply when corresponding printed words and graphics are placed close to one another on the screen or when spoken words and graphics are presented at the same time.

Modality Principle-

People learn more deeply from multimedia lessons when graphics are explained by audio narration rather than on screen text.

Multimedia Principle-

People learn more deeply from words and relevant graphics than from words alone.

Suggested Guidelines:

  1. Do not allow temporal separation of visuals and audio that describes the visuals- Contiguity Principle.
  2. Design space for feedback to be visible close to practice answers- Contiguity Principle.
  3. Place label on the screen rather than in legends- Contiguity Principle.
  4. Avoid separating feedback information on a learner’s question that must be integrated for learning-Contiguity Principle.
  5. Script virtual coaches to present instruction such as examples via audio- Modality Principle.
  6. Use transformational graphics to show changes over time- Multimedia Principle.
  7. Use interpretive graphics to explain how a system works or to illustrate abstract ideas-Multimedia Principle.
  8. Use animations to demonstrate procedures; use as series of stills to illustrate processes-Multimedia Principle.

Other Principles

  1. Avoid irrelevant graphics, stories or excessively lengthy text- Coherence Principle
  2. Write in a conversational style using first or second person (especially when giving feedback)- Personalization Principle
  3. Break content down into small topic chunks that can be accessed at the learner’s preferred rate-Segmenting Principle

Guidelines for Collaborative Learning

  • Assign collaborative projects that are sufficiently challenging to warrant collaboration.
  • Form small teams of two to four members of diverse prior knowledge and background for transfer problem and similar backgrounds for familiar problems.
  • Provide structured team processes that support individual participation and individual accountability for outcomes.
  • Use a combination of synchronous collaboration for synergy and asynchronous collaboration for reflection and equal participation.
  • Provide structured assignments such as structured controversy to minimize extraneous cognitive load.
  • Use facilitation techniques that optimize social presence in online collaborative environments.