Effects of complexity-determined system pausing on learning from multimedia presentations

Keywords: cognitive load theory, system pausing, learner pausing, multimedia, element interactivity, quantitative


System pausing at pre-determined positions during multimedia presentations can enhance multimedia learning. However, the pause positions are usually set up based on the structure of the learning material (e.g., segmentation principle) rather than on the complexity of its different sections (as determined by levels of element interactivity, according to cognitive load theory). This study investigated the effectiveness of complexity-determined system pauses positioned either before or after complex (high element interactivity) sections of a slideshow multimedia presentation. The study adopted a single-factor between-subjects design and randomly assigned 128 undergraduates to four experimental conditions, namely (1) pausing before high element interactivity, (2) pausing after high element interactivity, (3) learner pausing and (4) no pausing. The research results revealed that complexity-determined system pausing approaches and learner pausing resulted in better test performance and instructional efficiency than the continuous presentation without pausing. The findings suggest that pauses allow students more time to deal with learning contents with high element interactivity, thus reducing potential cognitive overload and resulting in better performance compared with continuous presentation. However, no significant difference was found between the two types of system pausing and learner pausing in all measures.


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How to Cite
Liu, T.-C., Lin, Y.-C., & Kalyuga, S. (2021). Effects of complexity-determined system pausing on learning from multimedia presentations. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 102-114. https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.7267