Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Educational Psychology


Bruce D. Homer

Committee Members

Patricia J. Brooks

Jay Verkuilen

Héfer Bembenutty

Jan L. Plass

Fran Blumberg

Subject Categories

Educational Psychology


Spanish learning, second language learning, second language reading and listening skills, multimedia instruction, redundancy principle, cognitive theory of multimedia learning


The redundancy principle of multimedia learning indicates that people learn better from graphics and narration simultaneously than from graphics, narration, and printed text simultaneously. The current study investigated whether the redundancy principle may apply to multimedia instruction of correspondences between a second language (L2) and a native language’s reading and listening content. 100 college students in New York City learned correspondences between Spanish and English words and phrases in a counterbalanced within-subjects design, from three trials of video instruction that was redundant (including text as captions) or non-redundant (including text as non-concurrent text slides). For each condition, participants completed tests translating text and audio of taught words/phrases (testing both rote memorization and transfer knowledge) after each instructional trial. Results of multilevel models showed participants learned Spanish reading and listening translations together better from the non-redundant than redundant video instruction (p < .05), and particularly for far transfer and English-to-Spanish translation questions (ps < .05). Results of further multilevel models showed learners’ fluid intelligence and executive functioning to not moderate these effects (ps > .05), but to predict higher L2 learning irrespective of condition (ps < .05).

Implications of the study include, when implementing L2 instructional multimedia with videos presented in both L2 and native language versions, that written text can be best included sequentially (on ‘bilingual text slides’) rather than concurrently with videos. In this paired format the two languages’ text displayed together non-redundantly likely facilitates cognitive strategies that are not possible with the same text displayed redundantly as captions on the videos separately. Implementation of such cognitive science-informed instructional practices may have societal benefits of improving L2 learners’ tolerance of ambiguity and cultural competence (qualities linked with L2 learning). Limitations of the present study include unclear generalizability of the advantages of non-redundant L2 instructional multimedia with bilingual text slides to non-translation aspects of L2 reading and listening skills. It is also unclear if non-redundant L2 instructional multimedia with text would be more than equally effective as its redundant counterpart in any situations where its text slides are not bilingual. Future directions are suggested investigating viable design options of non-redundant L2 instructional multimedia, and replications/extensions of the present study’s comparison incorporating highlighting (as per the signaling principle of multimedia learning), gamifications, or adaptations to heritage language learners’ particular learning goals.