Multimedia learning

Multimedia learning is characterized by learning with different visualizations and text.

We investigate which information that is depicted in visualizations (e.g., animations or static pictures) in relation to the information that is described in the text is beneficial for achieving a deeper understanding. Thereby we also consider how learners’ prerequisites (e.g., spatial ability, prior knowledge) may differently influence learning with the different types of visualizations.

Several design principles for learning with multimedia exist. Some of these design principles may interact with the content of the multimedia message, i.e., the effect of the design may change depending on the presented topic. For instance, a design principle states that a narration is more beneficial if it is not spoken with an accent. However, can a topic that is associated with a certain country (e.g., the topic red wine with the country France) be better learned and memorized when the topic (“How red wine is produced”) is explained by a narration with a French accent? (Such a correspondence between the accent of the narration and the content is used in commercials, enhancing both trustworthiness and memory.) We consider whether the emotional content of a topic interacts with a design principle. For instance, another design principle states that it is more beneficial to speak to learners in a conversational than in a formal manner, addressing the learner directly (“you…”). However, this principle may be inverted when the topic is potentially threatening and emotionally aversive for the learner (e.g., a serious disease). In general, we address the influence of a learner’s emotional state on learning in our research.

There is a risk that multimedia instructions are processed superficially. However, for learning to be successful, it is crucial that a topic is deeply processed. For doing so, learners need to invest learning activities – they can be stimulated to do so. For instance, learners can be stimulated to solve introduced difficulties that are intentionally involved in a multimedia presentation. Learners can be prompted to accomplish challenging tasks during learning (e.g., reasoning tasks or self-generated drawings).

Contact: Dr. Tim Kühl


Eitel, A., & Kühl, T. (2019).  Harmful or Helpful? The Impact of Seductive Details on Learning and Instruction (Editorial of Special Issue). Applied Cognitive Psychology, 33, 3–8. doi:10.1002/acp.3513

Kühl, T., & Bertrams, A. (2019). Is learning with elaborative interrogation less desirable when learners are depleted?. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 707. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00707

Kühl, T., Moersdorf, F., Römer, M., & Münzer, S. (2019). Adding emotionality to seductive details – Consequences for learning? Applied Cognitive Psychology, 33, 48–61. doi:10.1002/acp.3477

Navratil, S. D., & Kühl, T. (2019). Learning with elaborative interrogations and the impact of learners’ emotional states. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 35, 218–227. doi:10.1111/jcal.12324

Kühl, T., Navratil, S. D., & Münzer, S. (2018). Animations and static pictures: The influence of prompting and time of testing. Learning and Instruction, 58, 201–209. doi:10.1016/j.learninstruc.2018.07.006

Kühl, T., Stebner, F., Navratil, S. D., Fehringer, B. C. O. F., & Münzer, S. (2018). Text information and spatial abilities in learning with different visualization formats. Journal of Educational Psychology, 110, 561–577. doi:10.1037/edu0000226

Münzer, S., Fehringer, B. C. O. F., & Kühl, T. (2018). Specificity of mental transformations involved in understanding spatial structures: Correspondence between ability measures and dedicated tasks. Learning and Individual Differences, 61, 40–50. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2017.11.004.

Navratil, S. D., Kühl, T., & Heidig, S. (2018). Why the cells look like that – The influence of learning with emotional design and elaborative interrogations. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1653. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01653

Kühl, T. & Zander, S. (2017). An inverted personalization effect when learning with multimedia: The case of aversive content. Computers & Education, 108, 71–84.  doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2017.01.013

Stebner, F., Kühl, T., Höffler, T., Wirth, J., & Ayres, P. (2017). The role of process information in narrations while learning with animations and static pictures. Computers & Education, 104, 34–38. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2016.11.001

Zander, S., Wetzel, S., Kühl, T., & Bartels, S. (2017). Underlying processes of an inverted personalization effect in multimedia learning – an eye-tracking study. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 2202.  doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02202

Münzer, S., Fehringer, B. C. O. F., & Kühl, T. (2016). Validation of a 3-factor structure of spatial strategies and relations to possession and usage of navigational aids. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 47, 66–78. doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2016.04.017

Münzer, S., Fehringer, B. C., & Kühl, T. (2016). Standardized norm data for three self-report scales on egocentric and allocentric environmental spatial strategies. Data in Brief, 8, 803–811. doi:10.1016/j.dib.2016.06.039

Kühl, T. & Eitel, A. (2016).  Effects of disfluency on cognitive and metacognitive processes and outcomes (Editorial of Special Issue). Metacognition and Learning, 11, 1–13. doi:10.1007/s11409-016-9154-x

Eitel, A. & Kühl, T. (2016). Effects of disfluency and test expectancy on learning with text. Metacognition and Learning, 11, 107–121. doi:10.1007/s11409-015-9145-3

Kühl, T., Eitel, A., Damnik, G., & Körndle, H. (2014). The impact of disfluency, pacing, and students' need for cognition on learning with multimedia. Computers in Human Behavior, 35, 189–198. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2014.03.004.

Eitel, A*., Kühl, T.*, Scheiter, K., & Gerjets, P. (2014). Disfluency meets cognitive load in multimedia learning: Does harder-to-read mean better-to-understand? Applied Cognitive Psychology, 28, 488–501. doi:10.1002/acp.3004

* These authors contributed equally to this work and should both be considered as first authors

Kühl, T.*, Eitel, A.*, Scheiter, K., & Gerjets, P. (2014). A call for an unbiased search for moderators in disfluency research: Reply to Oppenheimer and Alter (2014). Applied Cognitive Psychology, 28, 805–806.  doi:10.1002/acp.3030

* These authors contributed equally to this work and should both be considered as first authors.

Kühl, T., Scheiter, K., & Gerjets, P. (2012). Enhancing learning from dynamic and static visualizations by means of cueing. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 21, 71–88.

Kühl, T., Scheiter, K., Gerjets, P., & Edelmann, J. (2011). The influence of text modality on learning with static and dynamic visualizations. Computers in Human Behavior, 27, 29–35. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2010.05.008

Kühl, T., Scheiter, K., Gerjets, P., & Gemballa, S. (2011). Can differences in learning strategies explain the benefits of learning from static and dynamic visualizations? Computers & Education, 56, 176–187.  doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2010.08.008

Pfeiffer, V. D., Scheiter, K., Kühl, T., & Gemballa, S. (2011). Learning how to identify species in a situated learning scenario: Using dynamic-static visualizations to prepare students for their visit to the aquarium. EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 7, 135–147.

Gerjets, P., Imhof, B., Kühl, T., Pfeiffer, V., Scheiter, K., & Gemballa, S. (2010). Using static and dynamic visualizations to support the comprehension of complex dynamic phenomena in the Natural Sciences. In L. Verschaffel, E. de Corte, T. de Jong, & J. Elen (Eds.), Use of external representations in reasoning and problem solving: Analysis and improvement (New Perspectives on Learning and Instruction) (pp. 153–168). London: Routledge.