The modality effect tested in children in a user-paced multimedia environment

Witteman, M. J., & Segers, E. (2010). The modality effect tested in children in a user-paced multimedia environment. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26, 132-142. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2729.2009.00335.x.
The modality learning effect, according to Mayer (2001), proposes that learning is enhanced when information is presented in both the visual and auditory domain (e.g., pictures and spoken information), compared to presenting information solely in the visual channel (e.g., pictures and written text). Most of the evidence for this effect comes from adults in a laboratory setting. Therefore, we tested the modality effect with 80 children in the highest grade of elementary school, in a naturalistic setting. In a between-subjects design children either saw representational pictures with speech or representational pictures with text. Retention and transfer knowledge was tested at three moments: immediately after the intervention, one day after, and after one week. The present study did not find any evidence for a modality effect in children when the lesson is learner-paced. Instead, we found a reversed modality effect directly after the intervention for retention. A reversed modality effect was also found for the transfer questions one day later. This effect was robust, even when controlling for individual differences.
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