Photo of instructor Alyssa Finch using a light board to teach math

Project #7: Google Slides Presentation

Click here to view slideshow

This week I was tasked with creating a static multimedia slideshow using Google Slides.  I have used Google Slides for a few years, and I appreciate the simple templates that, if used properly, tend to meet the best practices for multimedia design.  I also like that you can view the speaker notes when presenting, which is how I recommend you view my slideshow that I have linked to above.

If I had more time for this project, I would have integrated some higher-level thinking questions to improve the transfer of learning.  While the presentation itself is not an example of the Worked Example principle, I can definitely integrate some of the principle’s recommendations into the presentation.

I felt it was important to include some of the ways the college I work at uses the Worked Example principle, and I think I explained the Lightboard technology rather well.  I plan to utilize the Lightboard to create next week’s project.  Interestingly enough, the Worked Example I will be creating is “How to Use the Lightboard” as many instructors are not aware of how to use it.

Although this is included in the first slide of the presentation, I want to note that the presentation was based upon the following book:

Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2008). E-learning and the science of instruction, 2nd                           edition. Pfeiffer: San Francisco, CA.


Project #6: Coherence Analysis

What is the Coherence Principle and its most important constraints/criteria?

The Coherence Principle refers to the elimination of extraneous and unnecessary materials within a designed lesson.  The principle focuses on what the instructor can eliminate from the lesson design, such as extraneous audio, extraneous graphics, and extraneous words.  The question that instructors should ask themselves when designing a lesson is “Is this graphic (music, word, etc.) essential for the understanding of the lesson objective?”.

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.

One successful training I have taken that aligned with the Coherence Principle was the Powerpoint, discussion, and performance task training I took entitle “Active Shooter”.  The presentation portion only included information that we were going to use in the active shooter scenarios.  I have also seen unsuccessful trainings in relation to the Coherence Principle.  One training course I took to learn a student information database had pictures and paragraphs of information.  In truth, it should not have been a presentation, but probably a step-by-step .pdf format.

Have you ever seen this principle violated or abused? Identify the violations, including citations as needed from your textbook.

I have seen this principle violated frequently with the use of background music.  Many of the presentations that I have viewed in this program have had extraneous background music.  These were generally created by students, and I do not believe they were aware of the Coherence Principle.  Clark and Meyer state that “…evidence points to the mental toll that can be levied by extraneous sounds” (2011, p. 158).  After reviewing a variety of studies, Clark and Meyer (2012) noted better learning transfer when extraneous sounds and music are not included.

Discuss the relationship of the Coherence Principle to other Multimedia Learning Principles examined thus far in your readings.

The Coherence Principle easily aligns with the Contiguity Principle, as both consider the careful selection of both graphics and words.  Instructors are encouraged to think deeply about the wording and graphic selection in order to convey their message easily.  Additionally, the Modality Principle and Coherence Principle are related as the Modality Principle recommends narration for complex-graphic presentations, and does not recommend music or sound effects as part of the narration.  The Redundancy Principle directly relates to the Coherence Principle by recommending the use of audio OR text, not both, thus aligning with the reduction of extraneous audio and words.

Discuss the relationship of the Coherence Principle to fundamental theories of psychology as described by Clark & Mayer in your textbook.

The reduction of extraneous elements is supported by the cognitive theory of multimedia media learning in which deeper learning occurs when presentation-based distractions are reduced.  The arousal theory is contraindicated, however, and evidence seems to be stronger toward the reduction of extraneous elements, rather than the inclusion as a method to increase arousal.  It should be noted that additional research is needed in relation to learner interest and cognitive load.

What do you personally like or dislike about this principle? Present a coherent, informed opinion and explain why you hold this opinion.

I appreciate this principle because I am a learner that is often distracted by elements that are meant to arouse, but are not necessarily required to understand the content.  I remember when I learned PowerPoint many years ago and we were encouraged to add slide sounds effects.  Whenever I viewed a PowerPoint and heard the random sound effects, it would almost always result in a class-wide discussion of the sound effect selected, not the content.  I have seen this occur now that I am an educator, as well.  Sometimes I use presentations that were designed by others, and I have found that the presentations with sound effects are going to completely “derail” any content-based discussion I am hoping for.  Therefore, I am for the elimination of extraneous effects, specifically for objective-based learning.

Are there any limitations or qualifications of the principle (caveats) which the authors did not consider and, if so, what are they?

Although this was briefly discussed in the text, game-based learning theories contradict a lot of the information found in many of the multimedia principles.  I think a designation of objective-based versus “casual”, or informal learning should be made.  Casual learning could be playing a video game with historical elements, for example, and extraneous effects may be added when considering motivation, arousal, and flow theories.  Kapp (2012) explained that game research proves games are beneficial for learning, especially when the content is objective-based.  The multimedia principles discussed in this particular book seems to focus more on online/face-to-face instruction where the learning is more formal.  Considerations should be made for game-based learning in relation to the various multimedia principles.

Furthermore, as more research is done on multimedia theories, researchers are finding evidence that does not directly align with these principles.  One example is the study conducted by Schweppe and Rummer (2016) where they determined that “combining pictorial information and written text is beneficial for long-term learning, contrary to what has been suggested in the modality principle of multimedia learning” (p. 135).  If the modality principle is found to be questionable, then it is likely that the coherence principle will also be questionable.  Additional research is indicated, especially as society continues to learn more about the brain and memory.


Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2008). E-learning and the science of instruction, 2nd                           edition. Pfeiffer: San Francisco, CA.

Kapp, K. M. (2012). The gamification of learning and instruction: Game-based methods and                         strategies for training and education. San Francisco: CA: Pfeiffer.

Schweppe, J., & Rummer, R. (2016). Integrating written text and graphics as a desirable             difficulty in long-term multimedia learning. Computers in Human Behavior, 60,                           131-137.  

Project #4: Prezi

View the presentation here:

For the past two weeks, I have been working on a narrated Prezi presentation on the Modality Principle.  Essentially, the Modality Principle determines when narration versus on-screen text would be the best mode of content delivery for graphic-based presentations.  I explain more about the Modality Principle in the link above.

The Prezi was very easy to create.  I selected a template from the variety of templates available.  I chose a balance as the Modality Principle is all about balancing the learners’ cognitive load.  I then chose a color scheme that had good contrast.

The interesting thing about Prezi is that the presentations as path-based, meaning that there is a larger graphic and the presentation then zooms in on smaller sections of the graphic.  This visual helps learners understand that the small sections of content are a part of something much larger.  I really like the analogy presented in this manner.

I did not experience any problems while creating my Prezi or voice overs.  It was very easy to add narration to the pathways.  I only wish that there was a setting to zoom in more on the graphic, such as a “grow” effect.  However, this is just a personal preference.

In summary, creating a narrated presentation with Prezi is a breeze.  If you have any feedback on the presentation, I’d love to hear it.

#3: Haiku Deck

I recently created a brief presentation using Haiku Deck, a Web 2.0 presentation tool that limits the amount of text that can be placed on a slide.  I had used Haiku Deck before, but it had been about two years since my last usage.

The free trial allows a subscriber to create three slide shows.  I decided to make a short presentation about learner-centered instructional design, given a recent experience where I was encouraged to provide feedback on an online learning course.  I focused on only one component because the presentation was meant to be short and sweet.  In all actuality, I could talk about learner-centered instructional design for probably 60 slides.  But, that would not be an effective use of the modality principle!

I decided to use only five slides, one being the title of the presentation.  I included speaker notes throughout the presentation.  The key point was the consideration of cognitive load while designing the navigation of an online course, so I introduced the key point, showed a “before” example of a course, explained cognitive load, and then showed a “redesign” with justification as the last slide.  The only thing I wish I could have been able to do on Haiku Deck is add arrows and captions as I wanted to highlight the areas on the redesign rather than use directions in the speaker notes, such as “The right hand side has a calendar…”.  If I had been able to use arrows and captions, it would have improved the continuity principle, but I accept the tool as it is.

Ultimately, I think I will stick to using Google Slides while considering the modality, continuity, and modality (among many others!) principles.  I have already gotten away from the “wall of text” presentations, so I feel comfortable that I can make my presentations learner-friendly.  Haiku Deck would be excellent for students that are first learning to give presentations with visuals, however, and I wish I had used it when I was an elementary school teacher!

Project #2: Static Multimedia Instruction

Click link below to download .pdf of project


I recently designed a static multimedia instruction project using a web 2.0 tool called “Clarify”.  Clarify makes it easy to take screenshots, type instructions, and download the document for distribution.

As a professional familiar with design processes, I decided to follow the ADDIE (analysis, design, development, implementation, evaluation) process model.  First, I thought of a problem I wanted to help rectify, as that is generally the purpose of a tutorial.  The problem I selected was how to use Google Scholar, specifically to conduct research, save articles, and sort the library according to user preferences.  I determined the users of the tutorial would be adolescents and adults, so I decided use language comparable to a newspaper article.

The learner objectives were created at this point to help me direct my design.  The learner objectives are: After following the steps in this tutorial, you will be able to create your own Google Scholar library.  Additionally, you will be able to organize your Google Scholar library according to your own labels.

The design process came next, along with the need to become familiar with the web 2.0 tool, Clarify.  I decided to practice creating a library and organizing my library with labels I had created.  I concluded that 12 steps would be sufficient enough to thoroughly explain the process.  Once I developed the 12 steps, I considered what screenshots I would need to illustrate the steps.

Finally, it was time to create the document.  I knew the steps I was going to use, so I started each step by taking a screenshot.  I then titled the step, and described the step in detail.  The multimedia principle was considered by including both graphics and words.  Clarify made it easy to apply the contiguity principle because the layout ensured that the screenshot was on the same page as the step and directions.  I added red arrows with descriptions of where the arrow was pointing to illustrate important content versus using a graphic legend.

Although I do not have an audience for implementation and evaluation, I hope my colleagues that are unfamiliar with Google Scholar library will use my tutorial.  I plan to save the tutorial for future distribution, as it will be used when I ask students to conduct research.

Shape Tools for Graphic Design


The use of shapes in communication is as old as the first cave paintings.  Today, we have a wealth of tools at our disposal to create graphics.  Our tools are considerably more complicated and technological than the first tools used for cave paintings, but researchers note that simple shapes are still effective from a “functional and aesthetic perspective” (Lohr, 2008, p. 248).  Additionally, simple shapes in conjunction with words can create powerful graphics that are aligned with the multimedia principle.

I am currently in the process of creating a unit/course about the Community of Inquiry Framework (see for more information if interested).  Part of creating the unit is designing a graphic (above) that uses simple shapes to help convey an instructional message.  I chose to create a graphic related to the three categories of the Community of Inquiry Framework.

Justification of Typography Design

  1. Describe your users (people that will see the typography in the unit).

The users of my unit will be educators, either undergraduate or graduate level, that are learning the Community of Inquiry Framework in relation to online course design.  It is assumed that they are adults with at least one student experience in online education.  The users would be capable of reading college-level material.

      2. Why does your typography design solution work?

This graphic represents the idea that without a “teaching presence” (the base of the balance), “social” and “cognitive presence” would not be able to balance.  Additionally, without the “social presence” circle, the “cognitive presence” circle would fall off the scale.  Lohr explained that there are many tasks simple shapes can represent, such as comparison, focusing attention, etc.  My example represents a process and a hierarchy.  Circles were selected deliberately, as “circles create a natural balance” (Lohr, 2008, p. 250).  The teacher is the one setting the social and cognitive presences, but all three presences must be applied for the course to have a perfect “balance”.

3.  What did you learn from the “user-test”?

My user-test was performed on the same individual from last week’s assignment.  He immediately noticed that each presence could not achieve perfect balance without the other presences.  He appreciated the simple design.

4.  What changes did you make to the design after the user-test?

Color was suggested, however, I am uncertain of the color scheme I would like to use for my unit.  Color will be adjusted at a later time.  The concept portrayed in the graphic was easy for the person I showed to articulate, so I did not adjust the graphic.  I may choose to adjust it is my colleagues have other ideas.


Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle                    River, NJ: Pearson Education