Juliet Parfitt

    A few people have mentioned the modality and redundancy principles as causing problems for second language learners (@robert, @azurial, @sue, @robj, @paul-m,@naomirabin, @zsofit). One thing the article doesn’t make entirely clear with the modality principle is that it only applies when words are used with graphics, and when the graphics are the focus of the words.

    We process information through 2 channels: the visual/pictorial channel (the eyes) and the auditory/verbal channel (the ears), as in this diagram:


    If we have a picture together with a written text, both of these are processed through the eyes, which increases load because we can’t look at both at the same time.


    We can reduce the load on the eyes, and therefore increase processing capacity, by describing the image with speech, so that we also use the auditory/verbal processing channel, as in the first diagram above. Similarly, the aim of the redundancy principle is to avoid having 3 elements to process (spoken words, printed words, pictures).

    Clarke and  Mayer (2016) (E-Learning and the Science of Instruction) present these principles as recommendations to be used for guidance, rather than as rules, and also summarise some of the research that @robert asked about. They point out that the modality principle does not apply when words are used alone without graphics, and also explain that printed words should be available in certain cases, e.g. for some second language learners, when the words are unfamiliar, or even to use for future reference. I agree with @zsofit that this would also include for accessibility.

    we will spend the next few weeks looking at how to create the materials, but even with this, I find that it always helps to work with others for feedback and suggestions before anything goes out. Also, some of the authoring tools (e.g. Rise, Storyline) provide us with plenty of templates so that we don’t all have to become graphic designers.