How pacing of multimedia instructions can influence modality effects: A case of superiority of visual texts

Klaus D. Stiller, Annika Freitag, Peter Zinnbauer, Christian Freitag


"Present text accompanying pictures aurally to promote learning" is a well established principle of instructional design. But recently, it was shown that under certain conditions visual texts can be preferable. Instructional pacing seems to be one of these conditions that mediate effects. Especially, enabling learners to pace an instruction has proven to enhance learning. In an online experiment, the effects of pacing and text modality on cognitive load and performance were investigated. 110 university students studied instructions paced either by the system or by the learner and using either visual or auditory texts accompanying static pictures. Learner pacing reduced mental effort and promoted performance for instructions using visual texts, whilst with auditory texts, only mental effort was positively influenced. Modality effects on performance were found in favour of auditory texts with system paced instructions, but effects vanished or reversed with learner pacing. With respect to study time, the learner paced, visual text instruction was the most efficient.

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