The modality and redundancy principles revisited: do they apply in a controlled multimedia lesson?

Yinan Liu, Xingcan Meng, Zaline Roy-Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The modality and redundancy principles are two fundamental principles used to inform the design of multimedia instruction. They are based on a variety of experimental studies that utilized different types of multimedia lessons to compare input modes of graphics+audio, graphics+text, and graphics+audio+text with each other. However, a lack of control of multimedia lessons in previous studies creates a threat to validity because a single case scenario without following certain principles is not sufficient to represent a construct. Therefore, this study addressed this inherent validity threat and reinvestigated the applicability of the modality and redundancy principles when students learned during a controlled multimedia lesson. In this study the multimedia lesson was developed to follow a series of multimedia learning principles. These principles ensured that the lesson was representative of different types of multimedia lessons. Additionally, they ensured that the multimedia lesson was conducive to learning, since those that were not helpful would not be utilized for instruction in the first place. Eighty-six students in a research university in the US took a prior knowledge survey. They were then randomly assigned to the three input mode conditions and watched the multimedia lesson about the formation of lightning. Subsequent retention and transfer tests revealed that there were no statistically significant differences among the three input mode conditions. Therefore, both the redundancy and modality effects disappeared. This study provided an updated understanding of the applicability of the two important principles for multimedia instruction. Limitations and implications were discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-486
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Computing in Higher Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Modality principle
  • Multimedia input modes
  • Multimedia lesson
  • Redundancy principle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Computer Science


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