The Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning is a learning theory developed by Richard E. Mayer, an Educational Psychologist and a Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The theory addresses the structure of multimedia instructional practices and employs more effective cognitive strategies to help people learn more efficiently. (Sorden, 2012)
"A cognitive theory of multimedia learning is based on three main assumptions: there are two separate channels (auditory and visual) for processing information; there is limited channel capacity; and that learning is an active process of filtering, selecting, organizing, and integrating information." (Mayer, 1997)
When a learner engages in multimedia learning, there are three important cognitive processes:
1. Selecting: The learner selects incoming text based information and incoming image based information.
2. Organizing: The learner organizes both text and image based information.
3. Integrating: The learner builds connections between previous learning and the new text and image based information.
The development of multimedia instructional materials should be designed based upon what we know about how the learner processes information. "The Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning represents an attempt to accomplish this goal by describing how people learn from words and pictures based on consistent empirical research evidence (e.g., Mayer 2001, 2002, 2003a; Mayer & Moreno, 2003)."
Please view the following video for more information about The Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning.