Topic 2 – Where & How Do We Learn, in General, & with Multimedia?

Topic 1 Learning Objectives

By the end of this week you should be able to:

  • Describe some of the key learning theories used in education
  • Describe the importance of Dual Coding Theory and the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia
  • Describe how the Principles of Learning can help you to prepare to teach a group of people
  • Explain why Dual Coding Theory predicts that reading text off PowerPoint slides is less effective than when we narrate images in our PointPoint presentations
  • Describe what Flow is and give examples of things that you personally do that put you in a state of “Flow”
  • Use the tool to collaboratively annotate a web-based document

Introducing Topic 2

2 minutes

There are several learning concepts that can help us describe how we learn in general and with multimedia. The two podcasts below, from my colleague Keven Alexander, introduce you to the concept of learning theories and then give an overview of the key concepts we need to learn. Following some of the podcasts, there are readings and videos that will help you develop a deeper understanding of the concepts.

Please read the summaries for each of the learning theories and models on these web pages. Some of the theories you will hopefully recognize, and others may be new to you but will give you context to better apply the practical tools we will be learning to use throughout the course:

A Brief History of Learning Theories

6 minutes

Concept 1 – Dual Coding Theory

Dual coding: moving new information from sensory input to long term memory (Mayer, 2014)
You may want to look at the diagram above as you listen to this audio – 3 minutes

For a more thorough explanation of the Dual Coding & Multimedia Learning Theory, you can read pages 1-7 of this article.

Concept 2 – Cognitive Theory of Multimedia

This video gives a friendly but deeper introduction to the dual-coding and cognitive theory of multimedia.

4 minutes

Please scan this more thorough description of the theory. Please read up to “The Science of Instruction” on page 7.

Concept 3 – Principles of Learning

Please read this short web page which includes a description of the Principles of Learning that describe conditions that make learning more likely.

Concept 4 – Flow

5 minutes

Please read this article with more details and reflections about flow from a teacher. You don’t need to watch the embedded 18-minute TED talk by the researcher who first developed the concept of flow. Please note the links the author makes to the importance of scaffolding, or support, to help learners reach a state of flow.

If you like games or are interested in making games please read this fantastic synthesis of Principles of Learning and Flow applied to games (optional reading).

Where we Learn – Tools for Learning

Jane Hart, based in the UK, created the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies. A project they have run for many years is a ranking of the best tools for personal learning, workplace learning and for education. Please look through this list and count how many tools you currently use, and also check out any tools that look interesting to you: Top 100 Tool for Learning

Collaborative Annotation with Lab

Join the Optional lab on Wednesday at 4:30 PM to help get set up on Hypothesis and answer any questions about how to use Hypothesis as an individual or collaboratively in a group.

OR– Work through the lab materials below on your own:

  1. Create a Hypothesis Account:
1 minute

2. Practice annotating and reply to public annotations on the course outline using your new account.

Tasks & Assignments This Week:

  1. Create a Hypothesis Account 
  2. Topic 2 Blog Post Reflection Assignment 

Blogging Prompts:

  • How would the Dual Coding Theory change how you create PowerPoint presentations?
  • Why are we talking about the concept of Flow in a class about online and multimedia learning?
  • Why are we learning about learning theories in this class?


  1. Length: The blog post should be no more than 250 words long or contain a 1-2 minute video that you have created
  2. Post Category: Use mml–blog
  3. Please use an academic style of writing and include appropriate citations (links or URLs are fine).
  4. Please use at embed at least one image, video, or multimedia object in your post related to what you are writing about (if you are unsure how to do this, please refer to the Topic 1 lab video).
  5. For inspiration, please take a look at this strong blog post for another class, which does a good job including multimedia (a photo, infographic, & YouTube video), links to relevant resources, and appropriately cites articles:
  6. Post the URL for your own blog post in the comment section of the Topic 2 Blogging Assignment.
  7. Due: Sunday, January 24, 11:59PM


A brief history of Learning Theories (Ariane Dumont). (n.d.). [Mp4]. Retrieved June 14, 2020, from

Principles of Learning. (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved January 16, 2021, from

Summaries of Learning Theories and Models. (n.d.). Learning Theories. Retrieved June 14, 2020, from

Alexander, K. (2017). Dual Coding Theory [Mp3].

Alexander, K. (2017). How We Learn—Learning Theories [Mp3].

Alexander, K. (2017). Learning Theories For Multimedia [Mp3].

Alexander, K. (2017). Principles of Learning [Mp3].

Hart, J. (n.d.). Top Tools for Learning 2020 – Results of the 14th Annual Survey published 1 September 2020. Retrieved January 16, 2021, from

Khare, K. (2018, April 24). The State of Flow while Learning. Medium.

Mac Mahon, C. (2013). Dual Coding Theory & Multimedia Learning [Mp4].

McCue, R. (2021, Jan 16). EDCI 337 Topic 2 Introduction—Where and How Do We Learn, in General, and with Multimedia? [Mp4].

Murphy, C., & Science, A. (n.d.). Why Games Work and the Science of Learning. 10.

Spencer, J. (2017). What is Flow Theory? What does this mean for our students? [Mp4].