Features of computerized multimedia environments that support vicarious learning processes

Barry Gholson, Roby Coles, Scotty D. Craig

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


The aim of this chapter is to identify specific features of computer-based multimedia environments that support vicarious learning. As used here vicarious learning occurs in contexts, such as distance learning and some classroom settings, in which learners have no opportunities to physically interact in any way with the source of the content they are attempting to master. We primarily focus on research that identified features of multimedia environments that support vicarious comprehension/learning processes and how these features have been (or may be) readily implemented. Research findings from laboratory-style research in these environments are quite promising. For example, providing multiple perspectives on new information and using a personalized presentation style improve comprehension, but these findings have not been widely implemented in web-based environments or in classroom applications. Similarly, introducing new course content in the context of vicarious deep questions enhances learning, as does providing explanations that state something beyond the information given. We also explore selected research in which learners engaged in supplemental overt activities designed to support learning gains in otherwise vicarious environments. The intent in this latter section is to suggest how vicarious analogs of these overt activities may be readily implemented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNew Science of Learning
Subtitle of host publicationCognition, Computers and Collaboration in Education
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9781441957153
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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