There is empirical support for concluding that multimedia information provides learning advantages in several specific situations.
When the Media Support Dual Coding of Information
According to dual coding theory (Paivio, 1971, 1986, 1991; Clark & Paivio, 1991), information is processed through one of two generally independent channels. One channel processes verbal information such as text or audio. The other channel processes nonverbal images such as illustrations and sounds in the environment. Information can be processed through both channels. This occurs, for example, when a person sees a picture of a dog and also processes the word “dog.” Information processed through both channel is called referential processing and has an additive effect on recall (Mayer & Anderson, 1991; Paivio, 1967, 1991; Paivio & Csapo, 1973 . Learning is better when the information is referentially processed through two channels than when the information is processed through only one channel. Referential processing may produce this additive effect because the learner creates more cognitive paths that can be followed to retrieve the information.