The effect of different presentation styles on students' learning performance

Past studies have shown mixed results in the effect of presenting information in visual and auditory modalities on students' learning. Some studies suggest that presenting information in visual and auditory modalities provides more resources to working memory and thereby improves the learning process (Feinbergm & Murphy, 200; Kalyuga et al. , 2000; Mayer, 2001; Moreno & Mayer, 199, 2002). Some other studies suggest using Cognitive load theory (CLT) that redundant auditory and visual information increases cognitive load and interferes with learning (Kalyuga, et al., 2004; Mayer, 2001 ; Mayer & Moreno, 2002, 2003). Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of different multimedia presentation styles on participants' learning performance. The participants were 85 undergraduate university students, and they were randomly assigned to one of the four conditions or the control group. The control group received narration only. The first independent variable is an on-screen text density, including on-screen keyword text and on-screen summary text. The second independent variable is on-screen text segmentation, including small-chunked versus continuously presented on-screen text. Dependent variables are subjective rating of cognitive load, a recall test, and a problem solving transfer test. It was hypothesized that on-screen text groups would experience less cognitive load and would outscore the other groups in overall total test scores. Among on-screen text groups, those who received the keyword presentation were predicted to report less cognitive load and scores higher in overall test scores than those who received summary presentations. Also, it was hypothesized that the segmented presentation groups would experience less cognitive load and outperform in overall test scores than the continuous presentation groups. One way ANOVA and 2x2 between-subjects ANOVA revealed that there were no significant differences between the five groups. The study was not conclusive in terms of recommending effective ways of multimedia presentation styles using both onscreen text and narration. Future studies should examine the same variables with different presentations or other ways to improve learning using multimedia presentations.