Foundations of Multimedia Learning.

G. Camp*, T Surma, P.A. Kirschner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Mayer’s Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (CTML) specifies on a cognitive level how learning from multimedia instructional messages takes place and has produced many instructional principles that can be used to strengthen learning from multimedia. In this chapter, we explore the historical foundations of the CTML in cognitive psychology and in the field of instructional design. More specifically, we discuss three foundational theories to which the CTML is related that provide a strong theoretical and empirical basis for its cognitive and instructional principles and processes. These theories are Alan Baddeley and Graham Hitch’s multistore model of memory, Allan Paivio’s dual coding theory, and John Sweller’s theory of cognitive load. We introduce these theories as they existed at the time the development of the CTML started, and discuss how they are connected to Mayer’s CTML. In addition to discussing the theoretical connections, we also discuss differences between the foundational theories and the CTML and recent developments in these theories.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning
EditorsRichard E. Mayer, Logan Fiorella
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781108894333
ISBN (Print)9781108814669
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2021


  • multimedia learning
  • memory
  • cognitive load theory
  • working memory


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