89 paper

How does hypermedia support learning? The role of different representational formats and varying levels of learner control for the applicability of multimedia design principles

Maria Opfermann, Peter Gerjets
Knowledge Media Research Center (IWM-KMRC)

Katharina Scheiter
Department of Applied Cognitive and Media Psychology
University of Tuebingen

During recent years, hypermedia and web-based learning environments have become increasingly important in educational contexts. The advantages they offer compared to traditional learning methods (like books) include the possibility to access information in a nonlinear and self-controlled fashion. Additionally, information can be presented in different representational codes (e.g., text, pictures) and address different sensory modalities (e.g., visual, auditory). However, the question arises how these aspects should be combined to design a hypermedia environment that enables active, self-regulated and constructive learning and fosters knowledge acquisition. Our studies investigated whether well-established multimedia design principles apply to hypermedia as well. Results show that these principles cannot simply be transferred to hypermedia environments and that certain representational formats do not foster learning per se but that it is necessary to carefully look at the affordances that these representations provide for retrieval. These results will be presented and discussed with respect to their implications for the design of further studies.

Keywords: hypermedia learning environments, multimedia design principles, learner control