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UDL Guidelines - Version 2.0: Research Evidence

Checkpoint 2.5: Illustrate through multiple media

I. Provide Multiple Means of Representation

Language, expressions, and symbols


In formal schooling, there is a marked tendency to present the majority of information in language, specifically in printed text.  Many students for whom language is not a particular strength thus face persistent barriers not experienced by others. The experimental studies on the option of illustrating key concepts non-linguistically listed here span a range of media. There is extensive research to support the representation of information through a variety of formats: video, diagram, image, music, animation, and more. The scholarly reviews and opinion pieces provide more classroom-based perspectives on the importance of using a range of media to convey content to students.

udlcenter [at] cast [dot] org (Do you have )udlcenter [at] cast [dot] org (additional )udlcenter [at] cast [dot] org (evidence to support this Checkpoint? Tell us! )

Experimental and Quantitative Evidence:

Anderson, D. R., Fite, K. V., Petrovich, N., & Hirsch, J. (2006). Cortical activation while watching video montage: An fMRI study. Media Psychology, 8(1), 7-24.

Babbitt, B. C., & Miller, S. P. (1996). Using hypermedia to improve the mathematics problem-solving skills of students with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29(4), 391-401, 412.

Bodemer, D., Ploetzner, R., Bruchmuller, K., & Hacker, S. (2005). Supporting learning with interactive multimedia through active integration of representations. Instructional Science, 33(1), 73-95.

Bodemer, D., Ploetzner, R., Feuerlein, I., & Spada, H. (2004). The active integration of information during learning with dynamic and interactive visualisations. Learning & Instruction, 14(3), 325-341.

Boone, R., & Higgins, K. (1993). Hypermedia basal readers: Three years of school-based research. Journal of Special Education Technology, 12(2), 86-106.

Bottge, B. A., & Hasselbring, T. S. (1993). A comparison of two approaches for teaching complex, authentic mathematics problems to adolescents in remedial math classes. Exceptional Children, 59(6), 556-566.

Butler, F. M., Miller, S. P., Crehan, K., Babbitt, B., & Pierce, T. (2003). Fraction instruction for students with mathematics disabilities: Comparing two teaching sequences. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 18(2), 99-111.

Calvert, S. L., & Billingsley, R. L. (1998). Young children's recitation and comprehension of information presented by songs. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 19(1), 97-108.

Carlson, R., Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (2003). Learning and understanding science instructional material. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(3), 629-640.

Cennamo, K. S. (1993). Learning from video: Factors influencing learners' preconceptions and invested mental effort. Educational Technology, Research and Development, 41(3), 33-45.

Center, Y., Freeman, L., Robertson, G., & Outhred, L. (1999). The effect of visual imagery training on the reading and listening comprehension of low listening comprehenders in year 2. Journal of Research in Reading, 22(3), 241-256.

Chun, D. M., & Plass, J. L. (1996). Facilitating reading comprehension with multimedia. System, 24(4), 503-519.

Doty, D. E., Popplewell, S. R., & Byers, G. O. (2001). Interactive CD-ROM storybooks and young readers' reading comprehension. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 33(4), 374-384.

Dubois, M., & Vial, I. (2000). Multimedia design: The effects of relating multimodal information. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 16(2), 157-165.

Filippatou, D., & Pumfrey, P. D. (1996). Pictures, titles, reading accuracy and reading comprehension: A research review (1973-95). Educational Research, 38(3), 259-291.

Furnham, A., De Siena, S., & Gunter, B. (2002). "Children's and adults' recall of children's news stories in both print and audio-visual presentation modalities": Correction. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 16(2), 191-210.

Gambrell, L. B., & Jawitz, P. B. (1993). Mental imagery, text illustrations, and children's story comprehension and recall. Reading Research Quarterly, 28(3), 256-276.

Gentry, M. M., Chinn, K. M., & Moulton, R. D. (2005). Effectiveness of multimedia reading materials when used with children who are deaf. American Annals of the Deaf, 149(5), 394-403.

Gerlic, I., & Jausovec, N. (1999). Multimedia: Differences in cognitive processes observed with EEG. Educational Technology Research and Development, 47(3), 5-14.

Grace-Martin, M. (2001). How to design educational multimedia: A "loaded" question. Journal of Educational Multimedia & Hypermedia, 10(4), 397-409.

Hari Narayanan, N., & Hegarty, M. (2002). Multimedia design for communication of dynamic information. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 57(4), 279-315.

Hegarty, M., Narayanan, N. H., & Freitas, P. (2002). Understanding machines from multimedia and hypermedia presentations. In J. Otero, J. A. Leon & A. C. Graesser (Eds.), The psychology of science text comprehension. (pp. 357-384). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Holmes, B. C. (1987). Children's inferences with print and pictures. Journal of Educational Psychology, 79(1), 14-18.

Houts, P. S., Doak, C. C., Doak, L. G., & Loscalzo, M. J. (2006). The role of pictures in improving health communication: A review of research on attention, comprehension, recall, and adherence. Patient Education & Counseling, 61(2), 173-190.

Innes Helsel, F. K., H., H. J., Miller, G., Malinow, A., & Murray, E. (2006). Identifying evidence-based, promising and emerging practices that use screen-based technology to teach mathematics in grades K-8: A research synthesis. CITEd Research Center. Retrieved February 3, 2009 from

Jones, L. C., & Plass, J. L. (2002). Supporting listening comprehension and vocabulary acquisition in French with multimedia annotations. The Modern Language Journal, 86(4), 546-561.

Kalyuga, S., Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (1999). Managing split-attention and redundancy in multimedia instruction. Applied cognitive psychology, 13(4), 351-371.

Kamil, M., Intrator, S., & Kim, H. (2000). The effects of other technologies on literacy and literacy learning. In M. Kamil, P. Mosenthal, P. Pearson & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of reading research (pp. 771-788). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Koroghlanian, C., & Klein, J. D. (2004). The effect of audio and animation in multimedia instruction. Journal of Educational Multimedia & Hypermedia, 13(1), 23-46.

Kozma, R. (2003). The material features of multiple representations and their cognitive and social affordances for science understanding. Learning & Instruction, 13(2), 205-226.

Leahy, W., Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (2003). When auditory presentations should and should not be a component of multimedia instruction. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 17(4), 401-418.

Lee, Y., Park, S., Kim, M., Son, C., & Lee, M. (2005). The effects of visual illustrations on learners' achievement and interest in PDA (personal digital assistant) based learning. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 33(2), 137-791.

Levie, W. H., & Lentz, R. (1982). Effects of text illustrations: A review of research. Educational Communication & Technology Journal, 30(4), 195-232.

Lewalter, D. (2003). Cognitive strategies for learning from static and dynamic visuals. Learning & Instruction, 13(2), 177-189.

Lowe, R. (2004). Interrogation of a dynamic visualization during learning. Learning & Instruction, 14(3), 257-274.

Lowe, R. K. (2003). Animation and learning: Selective processing of information in dynamic graphics. Learning & Instruction, 13(2), 157-176.

Matthew, K. (1997). A comparison of the influence of interactive CD-ROM storybooks and traditional print storybooks on reading comprehension. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 29(3), 263-275.

Mayer, R. E. (2001). Multimedia learning. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Mayer, R. E. (2002). Using illustrations to promote constructivist learning from science text. In J. Otero, J. Leon & A. C. Graesser (Eds.), The psychology of science text comprehension (pp. 333-356). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Mayer, R. E. (1997). Multimedia learning: Are we asking the right questions? Educational Psychologist, 32(1), 1-19.

Mayer, R. E., & Anderson, R. B. (1992). The instructive animation: Helping students build connections between words and pictures. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84(4), 444-452.

Mayer, R. E., Heiser, J., & Lonn, S. (2001). Cognitive constraints on multimedia learning: When presenting more material results in less understanding. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93(1), 187-198.

Mayer, R. E., & Sims, V. K. (1994). For whom is a picture worth a thousand words? Extensions of a dual-coding theory of multimedia. Journal of Educational Psychology, 86(3), 389-401.

Mayer, R. E. (2003). The promise of multimedia learning: Using the same instructional design methods across different media. Learning & Instruction, 13(2), 125-139.

McClean, P., Johnson, C., Rogers, R., Daniels, L., Reber, J., Slator, B. M., et al. (2005). Molecular and cellular biology animations: Development and impact on student learning. Cell Biology Education, 4(2), 169-179.

Paas, F., Van Gerven, P. W. M., & Wouters, P. (2007). Instructional efficiency of animation: Effects of interactivity through mental reconstruction of static frames. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 21(6), 783-793.

Plass, J. L., Chun, D. M., Mayer, R. E., & Leutner, D. (2003). Cognitive load in reading a foreign language text with multimedia aids and the influence of verbal and spatial abilities. Computers in Human Behavior, 19(2), 221-243.

Reimer, K., & Moyer, P. S. (2005). Third-graders learn about fractions using virtual manipulatives: A classroom study. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 24(1), 5-25.

Research Center, Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd). K-8 screen-based technology to support mathematics. Retrieved February 3, 2009 from

Research Center, Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd). Multimedia technologies. Retrieved February 3, 2009 from

Research Center, Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd). Supporting students in mathematics through the use of manipulatives. Retrieved February 3, 2009 from

Rice, M. L. (1990). Words from "Sesame Street": Learning vocabulary while viewing. Developmental Psychology, 26(3), 421-428.

Rieber, L. P., Tzeng, S. C., & Tribble, K. (2004). Discovery learning, representation, and explanation within a computer-based simulation: Finding the right mix. Learning & Instruction, 14, 307-323.

Schnotz, W., & Rasch, T. (2005). Enabling, facilitating, and inhibiting effects of animations in multimedia learning: Why reduction of cognitive load can have negative results on learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(3), 47-58.

Schnotz, W., & Bannert, M. (2003). Construction and interference in learning from multiple representation. Learning & Instruction, 13(2), 141-156.

Schwan, S., & Riempp, R. (2004). The cognitive benefits of interactive videos: Learning to tie nautical knots. Learning & Instruction, 14(3), 293-305.

Shephard, K. (2003). Questioning, promoting and evaluating the use of streaming video to support student learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 34(3), 295-308.

Trushell, J., Maitland, A., & Burrell, C. (2003). Pupils' recall of an interactive storybook on CD-ROM: Inconsiderate interactive features and forgetting. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 19(1), 80-89.

Twyman, T., & Tindal, G. (2006). Using a computer-adapted, conceptually based history text to increase comprehension and problem-solving skills of students with disabilities. TAM Board Members, 21(2), 5-16.

Walma Van Der Molen, J.H., & Van Der Voort, T. H. A. (2000). The impact of television, print, and audio on children's recall of the news. Human Communication Research, 26(1), 3-36.

Weiss, I., Kramarski, B., & Talis, S. (2006). Effects of multimedia environments on kindergarten children's mathematical achievements and style of learning. Educational Media International, 43(1), 3-17.

Winn, W., Berninger, V., Richards, T., Aylward, E., Stock, P., Lee, Y. L., et al. (2006). Effects of nonverbal problem solving treatment on skills for externalizing visual representation in upper elementary grade students with and without dyslexia. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 34(4), 381-404.

Xin, J. F., & Rieth, H. (2001). Video-assisted vocabulary instruction for elementary school students with learning disabilities. Information Technology in Childhood Education Annual, 1, 87-103.

Scholarly reviews and expert opinions:

Ainsworth, S., & VanLabeke, N. (2004). Multiple forms of dynamic representation. Learning & Instruction, 14(3), 241-255.

Alvermann, D. E., & Hagood, M. C. (2000). Critical media literacy: Research, theory, and practice in "New Times." Journal of Educational Research, 93(3), 193-205.

Astleitner, H., & Wiesner, C. (2004). An integrated model of multimedia learning and motivation. Journal of Educational Multimedia & Hypermedia, 13(1), 3-21.

Bean, T. W. (2000). ReWrite: A music strategy for exploring content area concepts. Reading Online. Retrieved February 3, 2009 from

Bousted, M., & Ozturk, A. (2004). "It came alive outside my head." Developing literacies through comparison: The reading of classic text and moving image. Literacy, 38(1), 52-57.

Carnahan, C. R. (2006). Photovoice: Engaging children with autism and their teachers. Teaching Exceptional Children, 39(2), 44-54.

Carney, R. N., & Levin, J. R. (2002). Pictorial illustrations still improve students' learning from text. Educational Psychology Review, 14(1), 5-26.

Caspi, A., Gorsky, P., & Privman, M. (2005). Viewing comprehension: Students' learning preferences and strategies when studying from video. Instructional Science, 33(1), 31-47.

Clark, R. C., & Lyons, C. (2004). Graphics for learning: Proven guidelines for planning, designing, and evaluating visuals in training materials. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Considine, D. M. (1986). Visual literacy & children's books: An integrated approach. School Library Journal, 33(1), 38-42.

Dethier, B. (1991). Using music as a second language. English Journal, 80(8), 72-76.

Edwards, C. P., & Willis, L. M. (2000). Integrating visual and verbal literacies in the early childhood classroom. Early Childhood Education Journal, 27(4), 259-265.

Flannery, M. C. (2006). Thinking in pictures. American Biology Teacher, 68(5), 299-303.

Goldman, S. R. (2003). Learning in complex domains: When and why do multiple representations help? Learning & Instruction, 13(2), 239-244.

Gyselinck, V., & Tardieu, H. (1999). The role of illustrations in text comprehension: What, when, for whom, and why? The Construction of Mental Representations during Reading. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Heba, G. (1997). HyperRhetoric: Multimedia, literacy, and the future of composition. Computers and Composition, 14(1), 19-44.

Hegarty, M. (2004). Dynamic visualizations and learning: Getting to the difficult questions. Learning & Instruction, 14, 343-351.

Hibbing, A. N., & Rankin-Erickson, J. L. (2003). A picture is worth a thousand words: Using visual images to improve comprehension for middle school struggling readers. Reading Teacher, 56(8), 758-770.

Kinzer, C. K., Gabella, M. S., & Rieth, H. J. (1994). An argument for using multimedia and anchored instruction to facilitate mildly disabled students' learning of literacy and social studies. Technology and Disability, 3(2), 117-128.

Labbo, L. D., Eakle, A. J., & Montero, M. K. (2002). Digital language experience approach: Using digital photographs and software as a language experience approach innovation. Reading Online. Retrieved February 3, 2009 from

Lapp, D., Flood, J., & Fisher, D. (1999). Intermediality: How the use of multiple media enhances learning. Reading Teacher, 52(7), 776-780.

Mayer, R. E., & Moreno, R. (2002). Animation as an aid to multimedia learning. Educational Psychology Review, 14(1), 87-99.

Mayer, R. E., & Moreno, R. (2002). Aids to computer-based multimedia learning. Learning & Instruction, 12(1), 107-119.

Mayer, R. E., & Moreno, R. (2003). Nine ways to reduce cognitive load in multimedia learning. Educational Psychologist, 38(1), 43-52.

Moore, D., & Taylor, J. (2000). Interactive multimedia systems for students with autism. Journal of Educational Media, 25(3), 169-177.

Nathan, M., & Robinson, C. (2001). Considerations of learning and learning research: Revisiting the "media effects" debate. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 12(1), 69-88.

Newkirk, T. (2006). Media and literacy: What's good? Educational Leadership, 64(1), 62-66.

Pailliotet, A. W., Semali, L., Rodenberg, R. K., Giles, J. K., & Macaul, S. L. (2000). Intermediality: Bridge to critical media literacy. Reading Teacher, 54(2), 208-219.

Park, I., & Hannafin, M. J. (1993). Empirically-based guidelines for the design of interactive multimedia. Educational Technology, Research and Development, 41(3), 63-85.

Parsons, J., & Cole, L. (2005). What do the pictures mean? Guidelines for experimental evaluation of representation fidelity in diagrammatical conceptual modeling techniques. Data & Knowledge Engineering, 55(3), 327-342.

Smith, J. L., & Herring, J. D. (1996). Literature alive: Connecting to story through the arts. Reading Horizons, 37(2), 102-115.

Stevens, R., & Palacio-Cayetano, J. (2003). Design and performance frameworks for constructing problem-solving simulations. Cell Biology Education, 2(3), 162-179.

Strangman, N., Hall, T. E., & Meyer, A. (2003). Virtual Reality/Simulations with UDL. Wakefield, MA: National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum.

Styles, M., & Arizpe, E. (2001). A gorilla with "grandpa's eyes": How children interpret visual texts--A case study of Anthony Browne's "Zoo". Children's Literature in Education, 32(4), 261-281.

Williams, T. R. (1993). Text or graphic: An information processing perspective on choosing the more effective medium. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 23(1), 33-52.

Wissick, C. A. (1996). Multimedia: Enhancing instruction for students with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29(5), 494-503.



Last Updated: 02/01/2011

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