Optimum input mode in the modality and redundancy principles for university ESL students’ multimedia learning

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28 Scopus citations


Richard Mayer's cognitive theory of multimedia learning and multimedia learning principles provide theoretical and empirical foundations for multimedia instruction. However, the theory and the principles were developed based on empirical studies of native English-speaking students and may not apply to English-as-a-second-language (ESL) students. Specifically, the modality and redundancy principles that involve text and audio could become compromised in the ESL context, since ESL students have difficulty fully comprehending L2 (second language) English text and audio. This study sought to identify ESL students’ optimum input mode (among graphics + audio, graphics + text, and graphics + audio + text, addressed in the modality and redundancy principles) and to test whether the modality and redundancy principles also apply to their multimedia learning. Empirical studies comparing the input modes for ESL students’ learning were reviewed and common limitations were identified. When it came to knowledge retention, no statistically significant differences were found in ESL students’ learning outcomes from the three input modes. The findings also indicated that Mayer's modality and redundancy principles had not applied to the learning of ESL students. Explanations for the results and implications for future research were discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-200
Number of pages11
JournalComputers and Education
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Cognitive theory of multimedia learning
  • ESL students
  • Input modes
  • Modality principle
  • Redundancy principle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Education


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