Creative Education
2013. Vol.4, No.9, 614-619
Published Online September 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s .
Cognitive Constructivist Theory of Multimedia: Designing
Teacher-Made Interactive Digital
Prince Hycy Bull
North Carolina Central University, Durham, USA
Email: phbull@nccu. edu
Received June 21st, 2013; revised July 21st, 2013; accepted July 29th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Prince Hycy Bull. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons At-
tribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the
original work is properly cited.
This paper discusses how educators could use the cognitive constructivist theory of multimedia (CCTM)
to design interactive digital learning materials using Camtasia and Audacity. C amtasia allows educators to
create videos that motivate students, inform parents and enhance learning. It allows educators to record
live presentations or lectures and provide students with a file to review. Audacity is a free cross-platform
audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. CCTM ad-
vocates for the design of instruction using pictures, videos, audios and words that tap into the prior ex-
periences of the learner, promote active learning, collaboration, personal autonomy, personal growth and
alternative assessment that is aligned with multiple intelligences of learners as espoused by Gardener
(1993) which are Linguistics, Logico-mathematics, Spatial, Musical, Bodily-kinesthetic, Interpersonal,
Intrapersonal and Naturalist. Camtasia and Audacity promote use of CCTM because of their capabilities
to construct knowledge through words, pictures, animations, videos and audio. Case studies show that use
of teacher-made files could significantly impact students’ learning. Use of teacher-made interactive digital
learning materials could revolutionize educational presentations and enhance e-learning delivery. CCMT
produced by dynamic presentations creates a balance between the learners’ prior verbal and visual ex-
periences, sensory repository, multiple intelligences and learning styles to construct new knowledge.
Keywords: Digital Interactive Materials; Multimedia; Constructivist Approach; Multiple Intelligences;
Cognitive Constructivist Theory of Multimedia
Historically, educational systems depended on teacher-made
materials and activities to promote teaching and learning. The
proliferation of technology, digital materials, and learning
technologies have shifted the design focus from teachers and
educators to profit technology solutions, the Web, and com-
mercially designed software. There is a paradigm shift for de-
signing materials for teaching and learning from teachers to
businesses. This shift has the potential to undermine the quality
of materials presented and disrupt the educational process. To
promote effective integration of digital materials and learning
technologies in education, the focus of designing materials and
resources needs to shift back from business to classroom teach-
ers. This paper discusses integrating an efficient and cost effect-
tive way to prepare teachers to create functional interactive
digital files using Camtasia software to develop a video files
and Audacity software to design audio podcasts.
Camtasia Software
Camtasia allows educators to create professional finish vid-
eos that motivate and engage students, inform parents, and
enhance learning. It allows educators to record live presenta-
tions, lectures, and activities and provide students with a video
file to review. Camtasia digital interactive files promote flip-
ping the classroom through use of video files that students
watch as homework and apply concepts in the classroom.
Camtasia has several unique features that help educators create
functional digital materials to promote learning:
Capture what you see, say, and do
Personalize interactive videos
Create videos with professional finish
Allow educators to put themselves in a video by using the
Chroma Key or green screen effect
Allow easy editing of videos
A media asset library that enhances professional finish vid-
Videos files with engaging visual effects
Animated content to capture learners attention
Quizzing function to assess student’s understanding of vid-
Ability to share digital files in FLASH and HTML5 viewer
Produce specific files for iPad, iPhone, and other devices
Produce and share videos accessible via Youtube or Screen-
Capture PowerPoint presentation using the PowerPoint add-
on feature
Audacity is a free cross-platform audio editor and recorder
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 615
for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating sys-
tems. Audacity has several unique features that promote de-
signing effective digital learning materials, which can be pre-
sented as audio presentations or combined with Camtasia to
design effective interactive digital materials:
Record live audio through a microphone or mixer;
Digitize recordings from cassette tapes, records, and optical
Create multi-track recordings;
Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files;
Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together;
Change the speed or pitch of a recording;
Import sound files, edit and combine with other files or
Export recording in many different file formats;
Create MP3 files using the LAME converter file that could
be uploaded to iTunes;
Support 16-bit, 24-bit and 32-bit (floating point) samples
(the latter preserves samples in excess of full scale);
Sample rates and formats are converted using high-quality
resampling and dithering;
Track with different sample rates or formats are converted
automatical ly in real time;
Easy editing with Cut, Copy, Paste and Delete;
Unlimited sequential Undo (and Redo) to go back any num-
ber of steps;
Edit and mix large numbers of tracks;
Multiple clips are allowed per track;
Draw tool to alter individual sample points;
Envelope tool to fade the volume up or down smoothly;
Automatic Crash Recovery in the event of abnormal pro-
gram termination;
Accessibility features to manipulate tracks and selections
using keyboard;
Accessibility features to support JAWS and other screen
readers on Windows, and for VoiceOver on Mac;
Built-in sound effects for engaging and stimulating presen-
Theoretical Framework
Designing interactive digital materials with Camtasia and
Audacity using the principles of cognitive constructivist theory
of multimedia (CCTM) produces functional interactive teacher-
made digital learning materials that engages and motivates
learners. See Figure 1. The cognitive constructivist theory of
multimedia (CCTM) developed by Bull (2009) is the theoreti-
cal framework guiding this paper. CCTM is a theory that inte-
grates concepts from the constructivist theory, multiple intelli-
gences theory, and cognitive theory of multimedia learning to
support designing teacher-made interactive digital materials.
CCTM design is the integration of multimedia (text, image,
animation, graphic, video and audio) in a systematic design
structure of visual thinking combining verbal and non-verbal
communication to minimize cognitive overload of the learner’s
memory. CCTM also utilizes the learner’s multiple intelligen-
ces, learning styles, and prior knowledge of multimedia con-
tents and content information to construct and refine knowledge
through multimedia files.
Interactive Digital Materials and Cognitive Theory of
CCMT is aligned with the cognitive theory of multimedia
learning (CTM) as one of its supporting theories. In designing
interactive digital learning materials, the learner utilizes visual
and verbal information processing systems to engage in learn-
ing. All auditory information received during this process of
learning goes to the verbal system and all graphics, pictures and
animations goes to the visual system. This means that educators
in designing interactive digital materials should create a balance
between verbal and visual repository systems of the learner to
fully engage them in the learning process.
Mayer (2002) identified six major principles of multimedia
design, which should be adhered to in designing interactive
digital materials to create a balance between the verbal and
visual systems for effective learning outcomes:
1) Multimedia/Multiple Representation—In designing digital
interactive learning materials, instructors should ensure that
information is presented in at least two modes (text, video,
picture, animation and audio) of representation for clarity and
understanding. Using at least two modes of representation cre-
ates a multimedia learning effect, which enables learners to
effectively develop verbal and visual models and build func-
tional connections between them. This principle also taps into
the multiple intelligences theory by utilizing the intelligences of
each learner. For example, the presentation of pictures and text
support both linguistic and spatial intelligences. A presentation
of video recording supported by closed captioning supports
different combination of intelligences, but predominantly ad-
dresses linguistics, spatial, reasoning, interpersonal, and bod-
2) Contiguity principle—Instructors should also combine
pictures and words in designing digital interactive learning
materials. Using at least two modes of multimedia to present a
concept allows learners to understand a concept better than
when the same modes are presented separately for the same
concept. Camtasia has several options to combine pictures and
words on the same canvass, via PowerPoint or using over lay
on videos and pictures. Files created in Audacity can be em-
Figure 1.
Cognitive constructivist theory of multimedia.
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s .
bedded in Camtasia designed videos to promote the contiguity
principle, which simply states that multimedia learning com-
bining words/text and pictures in ones verbal and visual sys-
tems constructs new knowledge. Corresponding words and pic-
tures represented at the same time means a temporal congruity.
On the other hand, words and pictures presented on same page,
document, slide or screen promote spatial contiguity. This prin-
ciple is aligned with the linguistics and spatial intelligences
identified in multiple intelligences.
3) Split-Attention principle states that when words and texts
are presented as narrations they are more effective in a multi-
media presentation than when presented visually. Camtasia
because of its narrative and video capabilities provides more
opportunities and easier creation of the split-attention principle,
which simply states that on-screen text and animation may
overload the visual information system, but narration aligned
with the verbal information system and animation aligned with
visual information system does not overload in one system.
Camtasia provides opportunities for live recording of audio
narrations or video presentations of instructor teaching.
4) Individual Differences principle states that unique learning
qualities of the learner aligned with multimedia, contiguity and
split-attention principles determine how well the learner is able
to conceptualize learning. From the constructivist theory’s per-
spective, learners with high prior knowledge are able to draw
visual images from their image repository when presented with
only an animation or reading a text. From the multiple intelli-
gences theory’s perspective, learners with high spatial ability
are able to draw from their verbal and visual repositories when
presented with contiguous word and picture presentations.
Camtasia interactive digital videos allow learners with individ-
ual differences and different learning styles to tap into their
unique learning qualities to gain knowledge.
5) Coherence principle states that learners learn better in a
multimedia environment when exposed to fewer rather than
many words and pictures. The goal in this principle is to be
concise and to the point in presenting concepts with pictures
and words. For interactive digital projects teachers should
minimize use of text and picture on slides, especially if video
option is utilized. For digital materials with text and pictures,
the design should focus on using the picture with few words to
tell the story.
6) The resulting effect of the coherence principle is called
“redundancy effect.” In designing interactive digital materials,
learners gain knowledge better with animation and text, than
from narration, animation and text. Text is a visual presentation,
which competes with the animation for visual attention in the
presentation. When video capabilities are utilized, teachers
should not use animations since that will compete with the
movement in the video. An animation as a short video file can-
not compete with another video file in the same environment.
Using CCMT as a theoretical framework for designing inter-
active digital materials, educators can create functional teacher-
made multimedia materials aligned with their curriculum, stu-
dent learning outcomes and competencies. Materials created by
teachers are more focused on addressing student learning out-
comes. File created by teachers can easily be shared via the
Web using Camtasia’s web sharing location at
This website provides 2 GBs of free space with an option to
pay for additional space. The site generates a web address or
URL, which is shared with students to access files anywhere
and anytime. Figures 2-6 show as variety of ways teacher-
Figure 2.
Lecture presentation on t h e scientific met h o d.
Figure 3.
Lecture presentation on thes is wo rkshop.
Figure 4.
Article review multimedia file.
Figure 5.
Chapter presentation multimedia file.
made interactive digital materials can impact classroom learn-
Figure 2 is video presentation on the scientific method
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 617
Figure 6.
Lecture presentation multimedia file.
designed by a middle school science teacher;
Figure 3 is a video presentation on thesis writing by a high
school language arts teacher;
Figure 4 is an article review done by a graduate student in
my course. This exercise was done to flip class presenta-
Figure 5 is a chapter presentation done by a graduate stu-
dent in my course. This is a shift from the tradition class-
room presentation to flipping class presentations with video
Figure 6 is an of a class demonstration done in one of my
graduate course to help students understand a concept;
Figure 7 is an example of a mathematics lesson on numbers
created by an elementary teacher.
Interactive Digital Materials and Multiple
Intelligences Theory
Gardner (1993) states that intelligence should not be meas-
ured as a singular entry, but by multiple entries relating intelli-
gences possessed by all humans. Gardner’s eight basic multiple
entries could be addressed in different combinations in design-
ing interactive digital materials for instruction. Multiple intelli-
gences theory allows multimedia designers to create interactive
learning materials aligned with universal design for learning
and differentiated learning for students. These two principles
are intricately aligned with learning and teaching styles. The
universal design for learning is a set of principles that provide
all learners with equal opportunities to learn. Designing interac-
tive digital learning materials with a focus on the multiple intel-
ligences of learners provide learners with equal opportunities to
learn based on their learning styles and combination of their
intelligence entries in the areas of linguistic, logico-mathemat-
ics, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intraper-
sonal, and naturalist intelligences. Understanding how students
demonstrate their intellectual capacity is an important factor for
teachers in designing instruction to meet the specific learning
needs of students who may be dominant in one or several intel-
ligence as opposed to other forms of intelligence. On the other
hand, differentiated instruction is a method of teaching that
involves matching learning styles with abilities. This is best
accomplished through intentional design of interactive multi-
media files to address learning styles, academic levels, and
intelligences of students to better facilitate the learning process.
The process of designing interactive digital materials to sup-
port universal learning design and differentiated learning align-
ed with multiple intelligences requires an understanding of how
Figure 7.
Lesson on numbers for kindergarten students.
multimedia is aligned with each intelligence (Brown, 2005).
The following is an overview of how multiple entries could be
addressed in using CCTM as the theoretical framework to de-
sign interactive digital learning materials addressing verbal and
visuals systems:
Linguistic intelligence (Verbal system)—Interactive digital
materials promotes use of this entry through a variety of op-
tions: Use of text, text overlays on videos, use of text in
content area, presentation of text in videos, use of audio and
audio that is part of the video (Moreno, 2006; Moreno,
Logical-mathematical intelligence (Verbal and visual sys-
tems)—this entry is promoted in interactive digital learning
materials through logical audio presentations, video pres-
entations and mathematic/logical presentations;
Spatial intelligence (Visual system)—this entry is promoted
in interactive digital learning materials through visual-spa-
tial ideas, use of graphics, pictures, images, animations, ap-
plets, maps, and videos;
Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence (Verbal and visual system)
—this entry is promoted in interactive digital learning ma-
terials through the video components of Camtasia. Instruc-
tors can record demonstrations and movements, which stu-
dents would emulate, work on or modify;
Musical intelligence (Verbal and visual system)—this entry
is promoted in interactive digital learning materials in a va-
riety of ways. Music or sound could be embedded in the
videos such as songs, musical videos, musical demonstra-
tions and use of musical pieces as background, introductory
or end of presentations. Audacity is more effective in de-
signing audio files;
Interpersonal intelligence (Verbal)—this entry is promoted
in interactive digital learning materials through audio or
video presentations. This entry deals with an individual’s
capacity to understand, perceive and relate to other people;
Intrapersonal intelligence (Verbal and visual system)—this
entry promotes use of interactive digital learning materials
to support asynchronous learning. It provides students with
opportunity to review presentations at their own pace and
time and with many opportunities to do so;
Naturalist intelligence (Visual system)—this entry promotes
use videos and sounds of nature to create digital learning
materials to engage and motive students. This entry also
provides students with opportunities to see nature’s envi-
ronment and hear nature’s sounds that they would experi-
ence in real life.
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s .
The combination of Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory
aligned with Mayer’s six principles of multimedia design within
CCMT promotes the design of effective interactive digital mate-
rials to engage, motivate, and achieve student learni ng o u t c omes .
Interactive Digital Learning Materials and
Constructivist Theory
The use of constructivist approach in instructional design and
delivery of multimedia content of CCTM focuses on construc-
ting knowledge through prior visual and verbal experiences.
The constructivist theory of instruction is based on principles of
learning that were derived from branches of cognitive science.
The constructivist teaching approach theory makes effective
use of students’ prior knowledge and cognitive structures based
on those experiences (Mayer et al., 1999; Bull, 2012). An
example of what this means for designing interactive digital
learning materials in that images, animations, pictures and
graphics used should relate to student’s prior experiences.
Interactive digital learning materials support the integration of
images, animations, pictures and graphic to promote learning
through experiences aligned with visual and verbal repository
systems of the learner (Moreno & Mayer, 2000).
To ensure that instruction presented as part of an interactive digital
learning material is aligned with tenets of constructivism, teachers
and educators should ensure that the content, design and presen-
tations of interact ive digital m aterials are aligned with following:
Digital learning materials should be context based;
Content presented should relate to objectives of the lesson
or presentation;
Digital learning materials should promote participation
through active involvement;
Digital learning materials should promote collaboration and
engage students in learning;
Digital learning materials presented should lay the founda-
tion for students to develop autonomy and control over
learning by creating new knowledge;
Digital learning materials should promote personal growth
of students by creating new knowledge;
Learning outcomes should stimulates a perspective and an
understanding rather than a prescribed outcome.
Case Studies
Case Study #1
Anderson and Bull (2010) conducted a study on the effects of
using teacher-made multimedia interactive materials on stu-
dents’ perceptions of learning with multimedia presentations
and how multimedia promoted learning. Participants were 38
first grade students and two certified teachers.
Researchers designed interactive digital materials on Black
History Month teaching unit. Classroom teachers were trained
on how to implement multimedia lessons. The study employed
both qualitative and quantitative data analysis. Data for the
qualitative analysis were obtained from observations, surveys,
students’ Black Wax Museum, and focus group discussion.
Case Study #1 Findings
The case study findings yielded the following themes:
Students were engaged in learning;
Addressed different learning styles;
Promoted use of prior knowledge aligned with visual and
verbal knowledge;
Promoted higher level thinking skills;
Promoted literacy skills;
Motivated students to learn.
Case Study #2
Researcher conducted a case study on the effects of flipping
a graduate course with instructor and students’ designed inter-
active digital materials on student learning outcomes.
Participants were 10 graduate students and researcher.
Research designed interactive learning materials for course
presentations, lectures, and demonstrations of concepts. See
Table 1 for samples of teacher-made interactive digital materi-
als. Students were trained to use Camtasia and Audacity to
design interactive learning materials for course presentations,
article reviews, assignments, and chapter presentations. See
Figures 2-6. Data for the qualitative analysis were obtained
from observations, surveys, and focus group discussion.
Case Study #2 Findings
Analysis of data revealed the following themes:
Creating interactive digital materials promoted effective use
of instructional time;
Transformed students to producers of knowledge;
Files were archived and access as needed;
Supported synchronous and asynchronous learning;
Students lea rn at their pac e a n d time;
Skills required to design interactive digital materials are per-
quisites to flip a classroom;
Instructor’s knowledge on how to design and flip was key
to successful implementation;
Promoted mobile learning as files shared via web portals
were accessed with mobile devices.
Benefits of Interactive Digital Materials
There are several benefits of using CCTM in designing tea-
cher-made interactive digital learning materials. The follow-
ing are some of the benefits:
An effective way of delivering asynchronous learning;
Promotes online delivery of instruction;
Promotes flipping the classroom;
Alternative method of instruction to face-to-face instruction;
Easily capture and synchronize audio and video with slides
from your PowerPoint presentations;
Create rich-media presentations;
Create an engaging rich-media presentation that can help
students understand concepts better;
Interactive digital learning materials address a variety of
learning styles that tap into the multiple intelligences of
Supports a wide variety of audio and video file formats, for
high-quality audio and video;
Enables capture of live audio and video using any capture
Includes compelling transition and video effects.
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 619
Table 1.
Samples of instructor designed materials.
File Name and URL
Creating a Form
Validating Forms Video
Creating a S p r y Validation
Creating a F orm Radio Button
Creating a For m Check box
Saves time while offering great flexibility and high-quality
Promotes anywhere and anytime learning;
Promotes mobile learning as files can be accessed online on
mobile devices.
Educational Implications
In general, when teachers create functional digital learning
materials for their classrooms, learning is enhanced, students
are engaged and motivated to learn. It also promotes a shift
from commercially generated files to files that are more aligned
with competencies and objectives. Teachers could develop
training contents for tutorials, telefieldtrips, and virtual training.
Interactive digital files address unique teaching and learning
styles to improve how students learn. Promoting teacher-made
digital learning materials would require that educational sys-
tems improve staff development training for teachers. Teachers
can produce on-demand broadcast by capturing live video and
audio presentations. It promotes a paperless environment in
which educational institutions are able to archive events and
other school activities. It lays the foundation for asynchronous
learning via the web. Finally, it saves money as institutions
would spend less on commercially designed ma terials.
Use of teacher-made interactive digital learning materials
will revolutionize educational presentations and enhance e-
learning delivery when aligned with CCMT to produce dy-
namic presentations that create a balance between the learners’
prior verbal and visual experiences, sensory repository, multi-
ple intelligences and learning styles to construct new knowl-
edge. Camtasia and Audacity are great tools with great benefits
for synchronous and asynchronous learning. As is the case with
designing interactive learning materials for learning, issues of
copyright, fair use guidelines, access to camcorder or knowl-
edge and use of camcorders, downloading and editing videos,
time constraints, technical support and access to a server to
upload final projects may pose some limitations to the effective
use of Camtasia and Audacity in designing interactive digital
learning ma terials.
The author thanks graduate students whose work are men-
tioned and displayed in this paper.
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