The self-explanation principle in multimedia learning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

138 Scopus citations


Multimedia learning environments combine multiple sources of information (e.g., text, diagrams, and simulations) to help students master cognitively challenging domains. However, in order to benefit from these environments, students need to make connections among the sources of information. One strategy for encouraging students to think deeply about and cognitively engage with the learning material is prompted self-explanation. Self-explanation is a constructive or generative learning activity that facilitates deep and robust learning by encouraging students to make inferences using the learning materials, identify previously held misconceptions, and repair mental models. In this chapter, we present a framework for categorizing the many forms of prompted self-explanation and highlight ways that self-explanation has been successfully incorporated into multimedia learning environments to improve student learning. In addition, we discuss specific forms of self-explanation that may be particularly well suited for multimedia learning environments. We end with a discussion of implications for cognitive theory and instructional design and ideas for future work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning, Second Edition
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781139547369
ISBN (Print)9781107035201
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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