EDTech 513: Personalization Theory

Problem Scenario

You have been working on a script for a narrated lesson. As a teacher, you are convinced that a more relaxed, less formal conversational style is the way to go. However, you need to get this approved by your instructional design team, one of whom is an English major and a stickler for “proper” English and grammar. When you show him your script, he is aghast. How might you respond?


Dear Script Naysayer,


I appreciate your point of view regarding wanting to use “proper” English and grammar to create a professional piece of instructional material.  However, there is research that backs the model for which my script for the lesson narration is based.  We want the learner to engage with our content.  This can be a challenge in a virtual learning environment such as the one we are creating for this course.


According to Clark & Mayer and the Principal of Personalization, “The psychological advantages of the conversational style, pedagogical agents, and visible authors is to induce the learner to engage with the computer as a social conversational partner.” (p. 180).  This can make the learner feel more engages in the learning process rather than in a more formal model where learners feel less connected to the content. Given the cognitive theories of how the human mind works, using a conversational style in a multimedia presentation conveys to the learner the idea that they should work hard to understand what their conversation partner is saying to them (Clark & Mayer, p. 184)    I feel that I have created the fine balance in the script where the conversational partner is both engaging but not so informal that it becomes distracting from the instruction.  We have chosen to have an actual human voice because research states that learners respond better to this that that of a voice that is more computerized.  In addition, we have chosen a female voice for the instruction given the fact that the course we are designing is for teachers which tends to be a predominantly female profession.  It has also been found that learners rate the female narrators more positively and show better problem-solving performance from a female-narrated lessons (Clark & Mayer, p 189).   I feel that if the voice selection will enable our learners to be better problem-solvers of technology use in instruction then this is a solid choice.  I was thinking of creating machinima that was dressed professionally in a virtual classroom that mimics that of the age group of students that the teachers will be instructing.  This will allow elementary teachers, middle school, and high school teachers all to envision themselves as integrating the technology into their day to day instruction better.  In addition, I felt that the narrator and coach of the instruction would be more believable if we used terms such as “I,” “we,” “our,” “we,” “you,” and “your.”  (Clark & Mayer, p. 202).


As you can see the elements included in the design have been carefully considered given sound instructional theory.  I hope you will take a second look given what I have presented with an open mind as we move forward to collaborate on this project.


Thank you in advance for your consideration

Clark, R., & Mayer, R. (2011). E-learning and the science of instruction proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

EDTECH 513: Coherence Principle

The Coherence Principle


According to Clark & Mayer, the coherence principle may be the single most important of those presented.  In summary, it basically states to not over do it with extra unrelated graphics, sound, and media.  This principle appears to bring all those discussed up to this point together in a cohesive form.

  • make sure for those with little prior knowledge there are relevant graphics presented with word (these must be connected)
  • Audio narration of animation (if this is done; don’t use music too)
  • Avoid extraneous graphic as they can be disruptive to the learning process (Clark & Mayer, p. 159)
  • Avoid graphics and media that create distraction, disruption, & seduction
  • Keep images simple
  • Short concise narration is best
  • Use signaling such as: headings, bold, italics, underlining, capital letters, larger font, color, white space, arrows, and related techniques to draw the learner’s attention to specific parts of the display or page. (Clark & Mayer, p. 173)


Coherence in Action

In my own practice as an elementary educator, I have made the most use out of signaling to draw the learners attention to key information.  When creating step by step directions for students I make actions bold on the page.  Any screenshots showing students where buttons are in a software application have arrows pointing to where they need to look on the screen.  Give the fact that students are using these tools for the first time, I include a lot of screenshots embedded into project directions so students always know what the next step looks like.  I have also found video modeling to be very helpful.  Initially, I recorded a project as one long video file.  I found this was too long for students to track.  As a result, I now chunk the video modeling into chunks of about 3-5 minutes.


As for the acquisition of new vocabulary into working memory with younger students, I find using digital flashcards that have pictures and words very powerful.  Just last week I was using the interactive whiteboard as a whole group lesson on shapes using Quizlet.  We first previewed the shape vocabulary with word and image showing as phase one.  For phase two students matched the image with the correct work using the word using the scatter game.  It made for a great whole group lesson using digital tools to support learning.


Clark, R., & Mayer, R. (2008). Applying the Coherence Principle. In E-Learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.


Mayer, R. E. (1999). Multimedia aids to problem-solving transfer. International Journal of Educational Research, 31(7), 611-623


Moreau, R., & Mayer, R. (n.d.). IMEJ Article – A Learner-Centered Approach to Multimedia Explanations: Deriving Instructional Design Principles from Cognitive Theory. Retrieved March 21, 2015, from http://imej.wfu.edu/articles/2000/2/05/index.asp

Creative Commons License
EDTECH 513 Coherence Principle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://joannamarcotteedtechlearninglog.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/edtech-513-coherence-principle/.

EdTech 513: Podcast Critique

  1. Select one podcast you would like to share and discuss with your classmates.

Google Educast # 143

  1. Critique the podcast based on the following criteria:
    1. interest (does it have wide audience appeal?)
        • This particular podcast appeals to technology teachers that want to stay current with new Google apps, products, etc.  Or teachers that enjoy using technology
    2. quality (was the audio clear),
        • The quality of the audio was clear even with the speakers being in a variety of locations.
    3. speaker voice (did the speaker’s voice project well?),
        • All the various speaker’s voices projected well
    4. format (did the podcast flow easily and hold your interest?),
        • The podcast was enthusiast more like I was listening to several technology having a conversation rather than being more for others to enjoy listening to.  Personally I did not find this model engaging.
    5. music (did the music match the theme of the podcast and make sense?),
        • The introduction music was good but then led into an advertisement asking for donations.  I felt that this was a bit lengthy
    6. and anything else you can think of.

Because I didn’t find this particular podcast very engaging in comparison with other’s I am evaluating a second podcast.

  1. Select one podcast you would like to share and discuss with your classmates.


  1. Critique the podcast based on the following criteria:
    1. interest (does it have wide audience appeal?),
        • The podcast appeals to any teacher looking to integrate technology into their instruction.
    2. quality (was the audio clear),
        • The audio quality was very clear
    3. speaker voice (did the speaker’s voice project well?),
        • Both the speakers projected their voices well.  They had more inflection in their voice than the other podcast I listed to
    4. format (did the podcast flow easily and hold your interest?),
        • Even though the format of this podcast was similar as far as listening to the presenters have a conversation, I felt that these presenters gave more practical application in the classroom than the previous podcast
    5. music (did the music match the theme of the podcast and make sense?),
        • The introductory music and opening words work well to introduce the podcast.
    6. and anything else you can think of.
        • These podcasts are great and have real world application that you can often institute into classroom instruction easily given the recommendations the presenters make.  I wish they were still making podcast.

EdTech 513 – Multimedia Design Dilemma

Design Dilemma:
Your school principal has asked you to explain why you don’t include text to match your narration of multimedia instruction. (S)he cites different learning preferences as being the reason, along with adding additional modalities to improve learning. How would you answer?

According to the Modality Principle it is helpful to have printed words on a screen concurrent with graphics when you have a student that is hearing impaired and therefore can’t access audio or when bandwidth, sound cards, headsets are not available or up to par within the learning environment creating more of a hindrance with using narration. (Meyer, p. 120) Given the bandwidth concerns and digital divide within the community when we are designing multimedia instruction we need to be cognizant of the factors as they will make our overall network slow if we use these in all classrooms simultaneously on a regular basis. It can be helpful to have labels in conjunction with graphics when the graphics are complex or the flow of the instruction is fast paced in nature. When providing audio is not possible then we should limit the text to only that which is necessary as to not overload the viewer of the multimedia instruction. Presentations should be concise and not be lengthy when possible. The attention span of the end user needs to be considered when designing multimedia presentations. When students are viewing images and there is text also present they are taking in both the graphic representation and the text in through their eyes this will overload the visual portion of the brain actually decreasing the students ability to process information. This is the case when the text is present as a portion of the written words an instructor says. However, if we use audio narration with the visual image and limited labels this will actually increase students retention of the content because the instruction will not be over stimulating the visual pathways. Learners also need time to process content so it needs to be chunked into digestible bites.

The Redundancy Principle states that in certain circumstances it can be helpful to have both text and narration (Meyer, p. 143). I appreciate your concerns about ESL students and those students that may have auditory processing issues. For these students we could have a different presentation they access without the audio that has the text present. These particular learners are the exception to the rule of multimedia best practices under the present circumstances as they would benefit from having the narration in a written form rather than in an audio form. Having these options available would assist us in making sure that we are 508 compliant.

Clark, R., & Mayer, R. (2008). Chapter 6 & 7. In E-Learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.