The Relationship between Multimedia Technologies, Student’s Learning Styles, and Academic Performance

Academic Paper, 2019

10 Pages, Grade: 3



The experimental study assessed the relationship between student’s academic performances in different levels of multimedia enrichment. Students with different learning performances were given instruction in different levels of multimedia enrichment, including: audio visual, audio aided, printed multicolour and printed plain instructional materials. Multiple choices and matching item questions were used to assess their performance in pre and post treatment situations. The results were compared with student’s academic performance in national examination. Correlation analysis was used to assess the strength and direction of the linear relationship between performance in different multimedia enrichment levels and student’s potentials. It was revealed that there was a strong and positive correlation between performance in audio visual and audio aided and student’s academic potentials but there was no significant correlation between performance in both printed modes and academic performances. Also, boys scored higher than girls in three instructional modes namely: audio aided printed multicolour, and printed plain, while girls scored higher only in the audio visual mode. The study recommends that instructional materials should be prepared in multimedia mode so as to benefit both normal and disabled students. The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training should amend school curriculum so as to accommodate multimedia technology as well as training of teachers on multimedia technology.


Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have become a core instrument to enhance development worldwide, especially in the area teaching and learning process. ICT also plays an important role in open and distance learning (ODL) because learners are found far remote from their respective institutions. Moreover, ICT is quite helpful to learners with learning disabilities if well planned and organized. Consequently, teachers as stakeholders need to consider individual differences among learners including their academic abilities, learning styles as well as learning disabilities. Some students need more attention and special arrangements while others do not. Having different learning modalities, some students learn better by vision, others by touching, and others by doing practically while others just need to hear from a lecturing teacher. In such a heterogeneous class, multimedia instructional materials are the best strategy to carter for all students. Multimedia consists of computer program that include text along with at least one of the following: audio or sophisticated sound, video, photographs, 3-D graphics, animation, or high resolution graphics (Maddux, Johnson, & Willis, 2001). Generally, multimedia instructional materials contains different media elements other than a single plain text

Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning

Learning is a change in the learner’s behaviour that is attributable to experience while multimedia learning is learning from words and pictures (Mayer, 2008). Mayer’s Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (CTML) assumes that, words and graphics are more conducive for learning rather than just text or graphics alone (Mayer,2005). The theory is based on the idea that learners learn better when they engage in relevant cognitive processing such as attending to the relevant material in the lesson, mentally organizing the material into a coherent cognitive representation and mentally integrating the material with their existing knowledge. The theory incorporates four principles on how people learn including: limited capacity of the working memory, active processing, information transfer and dual-coding theory,

Limited capacity assumption is a proposition that humans are limited in the amount of information that can be processed in the mental systems at a time. When an illustration or narration is presented, learners are able to hold only a few images or words respectively in working memory at a time. Active processing assumes that, humans actively engage in cognitive processing in order to construct a coherent mental representation of their experiences. The dual coding theory suggests that, verbal and visual stimuli are processed separately but simultaneously in working memory. It proposes that, there are two mental systems in cognition, one verbal and the other non verbal, which are specialized for the linguistic and imagery processes respectively. Thus, multimedia learning takes the advantage of both the auditory (ears) and visual (eyes) channels in working memory to deliver content most effectively (Paivio, 1986; Sternberg, 2003). Moreover, there is a general assumption that the “whole is greater than the sum of the parts” (Wertheimer, 1924).

Many claims have been made about the added value gained from multimedia in ways not possible with single media such as easier learning, better understanding, more engagement and more pleasure. For instance, Mayer (2005) revealed that students understand technical machines or natural occurrence better when they learn from text and pictures combined. Furthermore, Petitt (1994) compared learning information that was presented in a traditional classroom lecture to learning the same information presented via computer multimedia-based instruction. It was found in achievement tests that learning was higher when the information was presented via computer-based multimedia systems than traditional classroom lectures. Additionally, Reid and Beveridge (1990) conducted a computer-based experiment dealing with illustrated texts. A computer was used to record the time spent on sentences and pictures as well as the point at which student first looked at pictures. Findings showed that more difficult topics were associated with more time looking at pictures and poor students spent more time looking at the pictures than did their more successful counterparts.

Multiple Intelligence Theory

Learners come with different abilities for problem solving skills, reasoning, perceiving relationships and analogies, calculating, and learning quickly. According to Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory, human beings have nine different kinds of intelligences that reflect different ways of interacting with the world. Each person has a unique combination of intelligences including verbal/linguistic, logical/mathematical, musical, bodily/kinaesthetic, visual/spatial, naturalist, intrapersonal, interpersonal, emotional and existential intelligence.

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Figure 1: Multiple intelligence Model (Kaewkiriya, 2016)

Likewise, learners have variable learning skills including visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic. That means some learners are more receptive to listening like in a lecture class, others in audio visual media while others function well with printed materials. Teachers need to consider all these situations when preparing instructional materials.

Problem Statement

Considerable research has shown that students learn better when the instruction is consistent with their learning style modes (Gagne, 1985). Multimedia enables learners to organize information in a manner that reflects their learning styles thereby improving retention and retrieval of knowledge (Norman, Genter, Steven, 1976). Moreover, many studies exist indicating the effectiveness of multimedia on learning but very few consider learner’s differences in abilities, learning styles, and multimedia instructional materials. Which type of instructional media is suited for poor students and vice versa? Do audio visual, visual, and printed materials differ in their effectiveness in learning among students with different academic capabilities? This study intends to assess the effectiveness of different types of multimedia enriched instructional materials to students with different levels of academic abilities.

Aims and Objectives

This study aims at assessing the effectiveness of different types of multimedia enriched instructional materials among students with different academic abilities. The following specific objectives were involved in the study:

1. To assess the relationship between students academic abilities and performance in audio visual instructional materials
2. To assess the relationship between students academic abilities and performance in visual instructional materials
3. To assess the relationship between students academic abilities and performance in printed multicolour instructional materials
4. To assess the relationship between students academic abilities and performance in printed plain instructional materials

Research Design and Methodology

This experimental study was conducted in Dar es Salaam Region, Tanzania. A total of 215participants were involved in the study to explore the effectiveness of different multimedia enriched instructional materials to learners with different levels of academic abilities. A pre test evaluation was conducted to five experimental groups including a control group so as to assess their prior knowledge. Later on by using between-groups experimental design, the participants were provided with information using four different instructional media texts including audio-visual, audio assisted, printed multicolour as well as printed plain. The independent variables were the four types of texts and the dependent variable was scores from student’s performance test which was provided immediately after each presentation. The test constituted 10 matching items and 10 multiple choice questions. Thereafter, the test responses were marked out of 100 and the scores obtained were added up and used for data analysis using Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficient in the SPSS version 17.

Research Findings and Discussions

Among the 215 students involved in the study, 54 were taught using audio visual only, 54 used audio materials, 53 printed multicolour materials and 54 printed plain instructional materials. Figure 1 shows the differences between pre-test and post-test scores.

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Figure 1: Pre-test and Post-Test Mean Scores in Pie Chart


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The Relationship between Multimedia Technologies, Student’s Learning Styles, and Academic Performance
Psychology Department
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Dr. Hyasinta Kessy works with The Open University of Tanzania, Faculty of Education, Department of Psychology and Special Education with a PhD in Education. She has published papers in ICT, ODL, & ICT for students with disabilities, and Learning in Multimedia. Dr Hyasinta Kessy has written several books including Social Psychology, Language & Literacy in Early Childhood Education, Managing Special Needs in Special and Inclusive Settings as well as Competence Based Curriculum & E-Portfolio books
relationship, multimedia, technologies, student’s, learning, styles, academic, performance
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Dr Hyasinta Kessy (Author), 2019, The Relationship between Multimedia Technologies, Student’s Learning Styles, and Academic Performance, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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