Citation: Gunnell, J. (2017). Relevant versus extraneous music in multimedia instruction: A study of the coherence principle (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University).Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to examine whether the inclusion of nonessential music in an instructional multimedia presentation affected learners’ ability to recall information in retention, cued-retention, and transfer cognitive measures. This study tested the coherence principle of multimedia learning which holds that the addition of nonessential content that is not relevant to the instruction is detrimental to learning. This study tested this principle by analyzing differences across three groups; a control group which included no additional music, a group including bland music selected at random, and a group including music that has been intentionally designed to align with instructional content. Participants responded to a questionnaire which collected demographic information as well as self-reported meteorological knowledge (SRMK).
Primary analyses showed that the presence and type of music included in the presentation had no effect on learners’ retention, cued-retention, or transfer outcomes and had no effect on the change in scores from retention to cued-retention measures. Secondary analyses investigated the role of SRMK on retention, cued-retention, and transfer tests as well as the change in scores from retention to cued-retention measures. SRMK was found to contribute to differences between treatment groups for retention and cued-retention but not for transfer scores. Supplemental analyses found no differences for cognitive measures between the groups containing music and the group containing no music. These results were not found to align with existing research on the coherence principle.