[Athen] who understands learning theory?

KRISTA L. GREEAR greeark at uw.edu
Sat Oct 15 14:26:35 PDT 2016

For those who were interested, I wanted to provide an update.

I posed this question when I was taking EDTECH 513 Multimedia. Now, I am in EDTECH 504 Theoretical Foundations of Educational Technology where I currently have an assignment to craft an annotated bibliography. Naturally, I picked up this topic (cognitive theory of multimedia learning and disabilities) after putting it on hiatus for a bit. The end goal of the class is to write a research paper that could be publishable. This is a fascinating opportunity as I have been working as an adaptive technologist the past 4.5 years and see more reality than theory.

What I am quickly learning is that this is a multi-disciplinary question. Other keywords include: neuroplasticity, learning disabilities, Dual-Coding theory (Paivio), cognitive load theory (Sweller), etc. I anticipate that this research paper will surmount into a conclusion like "there are some cautionary flags in cognitive theory of multimedia learning regarding persons with disabilities; this theory was crafted from lab-experiments that did not account for students with disabilities; disability was left out in the dual coding theory; more research is needed".

I anticipate sharing my findings with the listerv, hopefully at CSUN conference 2016 (assuming my proposal is approved), WAPED conference, ATHEN conference 2017 and other places.

Any other resources in these topics, or referrals to experts in the above named fields are welcomed and appreciated. Many thanks to those who reached out publically or privately with ideas and comments from my last post.


Krista Greear
Accessible Text & Technology Manager
University of Washington | Disability Resources for Students
011 Mary Gates Hall | Box 352808
Seattle, WA 98195-2808 | disability.uw.edu/<http://disability.uw.edu/%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank>

Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2016 9:05 AM
To: athen-list at u.washington.edu
Subject: who understands learning theory?

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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