The 12 Principles of Multimedia Microlearning Design

18 July

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The 12 Principles of Multimedia Microlearning Design

Inspired by Emmett Cullinane’s brilliant webinar for us this week, here are the 12 Principles of Multimedia Microlearning Design.

The 12 Principles were created by educational psychologist Richard E Mayer as a framework for designing multimedia learning experiences. These will give learners the optimal chance of retention of information and make sure they reap the benefits of multimedia learning design.

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We learn better from onscreen text and related imagery, rather than just onscreen text alone.


Be disciplined in ensuring any extraneous onscreen text, imagery or voiceover is excluded. Less is more!

Spatial Contiguity

We learn better when related imagery and text are positioned near each other onscreen, rather than far apart.

Temporal Contiguity

We also learn better when related imagery and text are positioned on the same screen, rather than on separate successive screens.


Voiceover and animation are more effective for learning transfer than voiceover, animation AND text – which can overwhelm learners.


Give learners introductory information to explore as pre-work before beginning the main learning experience. This reduces the cognitive load and helps make the main learning experience feel easier.


Visuals and voiceovers are more effective, and easier to digest, than visuals and onscreen text.


Highlight the key information on the screen so learners know where their focus should be.


We learn better when the learning content is divided into bite-sized chunks that we can explore at our own pace, instead of one long, continuous learning experience.


For self-managed eLearning experiences, such as a short video, the speaker’s image does not need to be on screen. The ‘talking head’ doesn’t always add to the learning, and relevant visuals may be more useful to the learner instead.


A human voiceover is always preferable to learners than an automated, machine voice. If you don’t have access to a professional voiceover artist, just record your own voice!


Onscreen text that is conversational and informal in tone is better for learning retention than a formal tone.

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