[Athen] who understands learning theory?

Jiatyan Chen jiatyan at stanford.edu
Thu Jul 28 09:48:54 PDT 2016

Hi Krista,

The theory sounds very much like the hypothesis(?) about separate learning styles, which has circulated (without sources) in many instructional resources, but I've not come across a good citation that these pathways are separate. The more current theories lean towards learning with all senses to reinforce each other.

You might be able to find research in Education, Psychology and Cognitive Science.

The scientific status of learning styles theories
DT Willingham, EM Hughes… - Teaching of Psychology, 2015

Effective teaching: Sensory learning styles versus general memory processes
KD Arbuthnott, GP Krätzig - Comprehensive Psychology, 2015

Jiatyan Chen
Stanford Online Accessibility Program (SOAP) Manager

On 2016 Jul 28, at 09:04, KRISTA L. GREEAR <greeark at uw.edu<mailto:greeark at uw.edu>> wrote:

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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