[Athen] who understands learning theory?

KRISTA L. GREEAR greeark at uw.edu
Thu Jul 28 09:04:31 PDT 2016

I'm in a graduate program in Educational Technology and am currently in a Multimedia course. This class is based on the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia. I am having an intellectual crisis because this theory makes the following assumptions:

* that humans have a channel for processing visual/pictorial representations and a separate channel for processing auditory/verbal representations

* each channel has a limited capacity and

* active learning occurs when learner engages in cognitive processing (Moreno & Mayer, 2002).

But in our work (serving students with disabilities), I don't think assumption #1 holds up. I am not confident that someone with a TBI has both channels. Or if they do, the channels may interact at different capacities. For example, a blind student may not be utilizing their visual/pictorial channel because it has been "replaced" by a tactile channel (tactile is not mentioned at all in this course).

I am struggling because this theory is widely popular in the Educational Tech/Instructional Design field and I don't want future professionals to be taught how to create media for only those who don't have disabilities.

I have no research to back up this gut feeling (yet). But I am itching for more. Can anyone shed light? Or point me to resources the focus specifically on disability and Cognitive Theory of Multimedia?

Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (2002). Animation as an aid to multimedia learning. Educational Psychology Review. 14(1). 87-99.


Krista Greear
Accessible Text & Technology Manager
UW Disability Resources for Students
greeark at uw.edu<mailto:greeark at uw.edu> | disability.uw.edu/<http://disability.uw.edu/%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank>

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