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This page provides answers to some frequently asked questions.

Many of the pedagogical choices we made when creating CLIP materials was informed by the research on multimedia learning by Richard E. Mayer, Professor of Psychology at UC Santa Barbara, and others. Our primary goal was to design learning objects that cause students to engage with information.

Have more questions? Contact CLIP (

Who can use these tutorials? Can I pass them on to others?
Anyone is free to use CLIP materials. CLIP materials are all free and open-source. The materials are hosted and ready to be used. Simply direct people to the URLs provided for each tutorial. See the Use Suggestions page for more info.

Can I edit and republish these tutorials?
Yes. You may download the sources files for any CLIP material, edit, remix, reformat, republish, etc. All CLIP materials are under
the Creative Commons: Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike. Edit away -- just be sure to provide attribution, don't sell your remixes and share your versions as well. To provide attribution, you may choose to link to the "more info" page that we've created for each CLIP material, or identify that your version has been adapted from CLIP materials and provide a link back to our site.

Why do the tutorials have audio?
Studies have shown that people learn from multimedia learning objects better when words are spoken rather than printed as text (Mayer, 2006; Moreno & Mayer, 1999). Mayer (2006) describes this effect from a cognitive perspective: "Printed words can overload the visual channel because the animation and the printed words must compete for attentional resources during learning. When words are presented as spoken text, this offloads some of the cognitive demand from the visual channel to the auditory channel" (p. 380).
All tutorials with audio have closed captioning that can be turned on or off. Audio can be muted. We also offer a text script (.doc) for all tutorials with audio. We encourage you to make the text version available alongside the flash version to facilitate different learning styles and abilities.

Why do you use a conversational style?
Many studies have shown that people learn from multimedia learning objects better when the material is presented in a casual and conversational style rather than a formal or academic style (Mayer, 2006; Mayer, Fennell, Farmer, & Campbell, 2004; Moreno & Mayer, 2000). Richard Mayer, Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is responsible for much of this research and has replicated the positive effect of an informal tone on learning in several studies. He sums the effect up nicely: “When learners view the computer as a social partner, they are more likely to try to understand what the computer is saying to them, thereby engaging in the deeper cognitive processes of organizing and integrating” (Mayer, 2006, pp. 382-383). This description of the social relationship between computers and learners and its connection to learning is also supported by Reeves and Nass (1998).


Colvin Clark, R. & Mayer, R. E. (2007). Applying the personalization principle: Use conversational style and virtual coaches. In E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning (2nd ed., pp. 157-177). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Mayer, R. E. (2006). Ten research-based principles of multimedia learning. In H. F. O’Neil & R. S. Perez (Eds.), Web-based learning: Theory, research, and practice (pp. 371-390). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Mayer, R. E., Fennell, S., Farmer, L., & Campbell, J. (2004). A personalization effect in multimedia learning: Students learn better when words are presented in conversational style rather than formal style. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(2).

Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (1999). Cognitive principles of multimedia learning: The role of modality and contiguity. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 358-368.

Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (2000). Engaging students in active learning: The case for personalized multimedia messages. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 724-733.

Reeves, B., & Nass, C. (1998). The media equation: How people treat computers, television, and new media like real people and places. Stanford, CA: CSLI.