The case for multimedia presentations in learning: A theory of synergy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Since Marshall McLuhan's elliptical phrase, “the medium is the message” (McLuhan, 1964), there has been a continuing and broadening debate on the influence of media in shaping cognition. Much of the debate has focused on whether or to what extent media should be used in instruction and how they might maximize children's learning. The argument centers around the relative role of the characteristic symbol system of such media as television, print, computers, and radio-the combination of pictures, sounds, print-and how these distinctive forms influence information processing demands. A number of scholars have made the case that each medium implicitly cultivates new skills for exploration and internal representation (Reeves & Nass, 2003). Therefore, as children are taught to read, David Olson a noted language theorist claimed (Olson, 1977), “They are learning both to read and to treat language as text” (p. 279).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMultimedia and Literacy Development
Subtitle of host publicationImproving Achievement for Young Learners
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)0203892151, 9781135859909
ISBN (Print)041598842X, 9780415988421
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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