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Expanding libraries’ application of Mayer’s cognitive theory of multimedia learning

Sarah Theimer (Library Department, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 14 June 2019

Issue publication date: 29 July 2019




The purpose of this paper is to propose the incorporation of Mayer’s cognitive theory of multimedia learning (CTML) into library digital initiatives, specifically open educational resources (OER). CTML contains established principles that maximize the impact of teaching material through optimizing the use of multimedia. As educators, librarians should adhere to CTML principles and advocate for them to be followed when library digital resources are created locally or used in a classroom. The paper looks at an OER title as an example and outlines changes based on CTML for improvements.


A literature review is used to identify the areas of librarianship where CTML already is in use and where research is lacking.


There are many opportunities to apply multimedia learning theory to aspects of library operations. The author should consider multimedia learning when making digitization decisions. OER projects should be accomplished with these principles and general learning theory principles in mind. Libraries should be aware of CTML principles when creating all digital scholarship.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is based on a literature review, not on research done specifically on this topic. It includes specific recommendations to improve an OER title as an example of what should be done on a broader scale.

Practical implications

Librarians are educators should be aware of learning theory and particularly multimedia learning theory as learners often are not directly accessible to provide feedback. Design is critical to learning and this paper provides practical recommendations for application.


Other papers have considered CTML as applied to online tutorials and instruction in general. Significantly less attention has been paid to applying CTML and cognitive learning theories outside of traditional instruction. This paper advocates expanding the use of cognitive learning theory and CTML to digital resources produced by the library.



Theimer, S. (2019), "Expanding libraries’ application of Mayer’s cognitive theory of multimedia learning", Library Management, Vol. 40 No. 6/7, pp. 478-482.



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