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A meta-analysis of how signaling affects learning with media

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Educational Research Review Volume 23, Number 1, ISSN 1747-938X Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


The signaling effect states that learners profit from cues that highlight the organization of specific relevant information within materials. This meta-analysis includes 103 studies and N = 12,201 participants. 139 retention and 70 transfer performance measures were used to determine separate mean effect sizes. Cognitive load, motivation/affect, learning time, and eye-tracking data were included as dependent variables to explain possible effect mechanisms. Additionally, nine possible moderators (e.g., type of signaling) were identified. The retention (g+ = 0.53, 95% CI [0.42, 0.64]) and transfer (g+ = 0.33, 95% CI [0.22, 0.43]) sizes support the positive effect of signaling on motivation/affect, learning time, and learning-relevant fixations. Cognitive load was significantly reduced. In contrast to the expertise reversal effect hypothesis, prior knowledge was not identified as a moderator of the signaling effect. The results were interpreted using media learning theories. Recommendations for future studies are included herein.


Schneider, S., Beege, M., Nebel, S. & Rey, G.D. (2018). A meta-analysis of how signaling affects learning with media. Educational Research Review, 23(1), 1-24. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved December 13, 2019 from .

This record was imported from Educational Research Review on January 31, 2019. Educational Research Review is a publication of Elsevier.

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