Multimedia Principles

Multimedia in learning must not become an end in itself but must be used in a planned, purposeful way with specific intent. Richard E. Mayer provides a common description of the use of multimedia content – his approach is called Multimedia Principles.

Mayer (2009) makes three central assumptions:

  • Two separate sensory channels (visual and acoustic) receive information. For information processing, the perceived stimuli can now either be processed in the corresponding channel or transferred to the other channel by cognitive processes. (Paivio, 1986; Baddeley, 1992).
  • Both channels have a limited capacity (Baddeley, 1992; Chandler & Sweller, 1991).
  • Active processing of learning content is critical for effective learning (Mayer, 2008; Wittrock, 1989).

Presentation of the twelve Multimedia Principles

Media & Interactivity – Mayer Principles by Peter Mazohl

Background information

The cognitive theory of multimedia learning, abbreviated as CTML, attempts to explain the cognitive processing of multimedia learning content. Mayer assumes that humans have two capacity-limited channels to process auditory and visual information. Depending on the type of multimedia presentation, the eyes and ears can perceive the information differently and store it in working memory.

About the presentation

This presentation has been developed for the CONNECT Erasmus+ Project as an example of the implementation of CANVA presentations.


Baddeley, A. D. (1992). Working memory. Science, 255, 556-559.
Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (1991). Cognitive load theory and the format of instruction. Cognition and Instruction, 8, 293–332.
Mayer, R. E. (2008). Learning and instruction (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.
Mayer, R. E. (2009). Multimedia Learning (2nd ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Paivio, A. (1986). Mental representations: A dual-coding approach. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Wittrock, M. C. (1989). Gereative processes of comprehension. Educational Psychologist, 24, 345-376.


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