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Coherence Analysis

What is the Coherence Principle and its most important constraints/criteria? Have you ever seen a presentation that had a lot of nice graphics, the music was nice and the text was gliding in and out? You sat there enjoying the music and the graphics, but at the end of the presentation you couldnt recall much of what was presented. That is because the presenter violated the Coherence Principle. Simply put, the Coherence Principle states that you should avoid adding any material that does not support the instructional goal. (Clark & Mayer, 2011.) Although, the music, graphics and text gliding in and out was nice and may have been visually appealing, ultimately it was a distraction from the message that the presenter was trying to convey. In essence, keep it simple! Describe and/or include one example of successful and one example of unsuccessful attempts to apply the Coherence Principle in actual instruction and training you have experienced, especially as it might be implemented in PowerPoint-based instruction and training. Have you ever seen this principle violated or abused? Identify the violations, including citations as needed from your textbook. The following are excerpts from a Prezi presentation that use some unsuccessful attempts of

the Coherence Principle: Though the introduction slide is visually nice, it has a lot of information and graphics to view. This could result in a sensory overload for the learner. Using the Coherence Principle the graphics should be simple and not so colorful. ( pg. 164 )

In this presentation these pictures just appear. There is no text or narration that appears. These pictures are cluttered and they possess the ability of distracting the learner because it leads the learner to wonder, who are these people, and how are they associated with Helen Keller? These screen-shots are from the same Prezi and show some successful ways to use the

Coherence Principle in a presentation. The above screen-shot is an example of successfully using the coherence principle. There is a title, and the text is relevant to the title. There are no graphics or narration to distract the learner. This screen in the presentation applies the Split-Attention Principle which states that, Students learn better when the instructional material does not require them to split their attention between multiple sources of mutually referring information. (Moreno & Mayer, 2000.) There is one thing that the learner has to focus on, and that is the text and comprehending the information that the presenter is trying to convey.

In this screen-shot, the heart picture and the smiley face are irrelevant to the text. The text is saying how w-a-t-e-r was the first word that she learned to recognize. Discuss the relationship of the Coherence Principle to other Multimedia Learning Principles examined thus far in your readings. First, there is the Modality Principle which focuses on speech over text. The Modality Principle recommends that you put words in spoken form rather than printed form whenever the graphic is the focus of the words and both are presented simultaneously. (Clark & Mayer, 2011.) Using narration over on-screen text lessens the demands on the learners visual processing. When a learner is using their visual channels to read and view the graphics, they may receive visual overload. Still, there are some instances when words should be used, when the words are new, technological, unfamiliar, not in the learners native language, or needed for future reference. (p. 120) Next, there is the Redundancy Principle which states that text and narration with a picture should not be used concurrently, one or the other should be used with the picture. As with the Modality Principle, reading text and viewing a picture both use the same visual channel and this could lead to a cognitive overload. There are situations in which using both would be acceptable, no pictures are present, ample opportunity to process the pictorial presentation, the learner would have to exert a greater cognitive effort to comprehend the spoken text. Only a few selected key words should be presented next to the graphics they describe. (142) All of these principles, the Modality, the Redundancy and the Coherence Principles focus on presenting information to the learner, in a manner that will yield success in academic content retention. All of these principles state that in most instances either pictures and narration or pictures and words should be used, but not all three simultaneously.

Discuss the relationship of the Coherence Principle to fundamental theories of psychology as described by Clark & Mayer in your textbook. Juxtapose the Coherence Principle with the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning wch states .multimedia learning environments can promote constructivist learning that, in turn, enables problem-solving transfer. (Mayer, 1999.) This theory deals with the learner recalling information and being able to transfer the knowledge to other areas. As was discovered with the Coherence Principle, the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning also concluded that learners best retain and are able to transfer knowledge when the information is delivered using two methods, for example; pictures and words (with the words and pictures on the same screen.) or pictures and narration, not simply one method such as words. What do you personally like or dislike about this principle? Present a coherent, informed opinion and explain why you hold this opinion. Are there any limitations or qualifications of the principle (caveats) which the authors did not consider and, if so, what are they? Learning about the Coherence Principle has taught me a lot about myself. I have discovered that as a learner, when the distractions are present, I embrace them. I am easily distracted, so when there is clutter present, that is where my attention goes, when the television is on or music is playing, I find myself having to reread material over and over again. I focus more on the graphics than on the words, hoping that I will not have to read too much. Learning about the Coherence Principle has taught me how to help myself retain information. Now, when making a presentation I will know how to avoid the distractions so the learner can focus on the material being taught and will hopefully be more successful in learning.

Clark, R. C. & Mayer, R. E. (2003). E-Learning and the science of instruction. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.

Mayer, R. E. (1999). Multimedia aids to problem-solving transfer. International Journal Of Educational Research, 31 (7), pp. 611--623. Moreno, R. & Mayer, R. E. (2000). A learner-centered approach to multimedia explanations: Deriving instructional design principles from cognitive theory.Interactive Multimedia Electronic Journal Of Computer-Enhanced Learning, 2 (2), pp. 12--20.