In today’s Learning Science blog we will explore Dual Coding, a research-backed proven strategy from Cognitive Science, where instruction is designed to leverage both the visual and auditory channels of the human brain’s processing capacity leading to deeper learning.

What is dual coding

Dual-coding theory postulates that both visual and verbal information is used to represent information. Visual and verbal information are processed differently and along distinct channels in the human mind, creating separate representations for information processed in each channel.

How dual coding effects learning

The fundamental hypothesis underlying research on multimedia learning is that multimedia instructional messages that are designed in light of how the human mind works are more likely to lead to meaningful learning than those that are not. Thanks to recent technological advances, pictorial forms of instruction are becoming widely available, including videos and dazzling computer-based graphics. However, simply adding videos or visuals does not guarantee an improvement in learning – that is, all multimedia presentations are not equally effective.

Research Recommendations & Evidence of Impact

Instruction design should be sensitive to how humans learn and based on the three cognitive science principles of learning namely, (1) dual channels – the idea that humans possess separate channels for processing visual and verbal material (2) limited capacity – the idea that each channel can process only a small amount of material at any one time; and (3) active processing – the idea that deep learning depends on the learner’s cognitive processing during learning (e.g., selecting, organizing, and integrating).

In 11 of 11 experiments conducted by Richard Mayer and his colleagues, involving paper-based lessons on brakes, pumps, generators, and lightning and computer-based lessons on brakes, pumps, lightning, and arithmetic, learners who received corresponding graphics with words performed better on transfer tests than learners who received words alone (Mayer, 1989, Experiments 1 and 2; Mayer & Anderson, 1991, Experiment 2a; Mayer & Anderson, 1992, Experiments 1 and 2; Mayer et al., 1996, Experiment 2; Mayer & Gallini, 1990, Experiments 1, 2, and 3; Moreno & Mayer, 1999, Experiment 1; Moreno & Mayer, 2002a, Experiment 1). The median effect size was 1.39, which is a large effect. In short, there is strong and consistent support for designing lessons with words and pictures rather than with words alone.

Implementation on ScootPad

ScootPad developed an innovative instruction delivery mechanism by painstakingly integrating the three recommended cognitive science principles of learning to maximize learner’s processing capacity leading to much deeper learning.

Dual Channels

Instruction is delivered across both visual and auditory channels simultaneously using high quality video lessons which are integrated seamlessly into the learner’s experience. The lesson comes to life as the words leap off the page stimulating the senses.


Limited Capacity

Students have a small amount of processing capacity and time to grasp the concept. Therefore, our bite sized lessons are designed to maximize this limited capacity that is available through each channel, visual or auditory.


Active Processing

Each video lesson is immediately followed up with a problem to solve enabling active processing and seamless recollection of the concept knowledge from both visual and auditory channels.


To learn more, review how students leverage our Instructional Lesson Videos to learn a new concept or refresh their knowledge.


ScootPad uses Dual Coding to maximize the learner’s processing capacity leading to much deeper learning. With this approach, a student can receive instruction via bite sized videos which incorporate text, while actively processing what was learned with a short problem the student has to solve. Furthermore, the student has time and capacity to organize and integrate the knowledge resulting in mastery of the standard as a whole more effectively. As a result, ScootPad is able to transform how knowledge is processed, retained and recalled to enable deep, long-lasting learning.

To learn more, please visit the ScootPad Platform overview page online.

The ScootPad Team