Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum & Instruction

First Committee Member

Randall Boone, Chair

Second Committee Member

Kendall Hartley

Third Committee Member

Marilyn McKinney

Graduate Faculty Representative

Kyle Higgins

Number of Pages



This descriptive case study investigated the role of narrative in multimedia learning and teaching and observed how teachers applied their understanding of narrative, and new constructivist technologies, to design multimedia presentations for instruction. The study looked specifically at the cognitive strategies, visual narrative concepts, and techniques of representation three teachers used in the course of learning how to design a multimedia instructional presentation. The context of the study was a university graduate instructional design of educational software course. Data sources included visual and verbal elicitation techniques, participant observations, document collection, semistructured interviews, and videotapes in the graduate classroom. Data were analyzed using concurrent and retrospective protocol analyses of design tasks, network graphs of design reasoning, and ethnographic document analyses of storyboard scenes, montage sequences, and narrative instructional presentations.

The findings of this study suggest the value of using visual narrative concepts and techniques of representation to support teachers in their approach to the design of a multimedia instructional presentation. The protocol data indicated that when the teachers actively engaged in design problem solving, they used their new knowledge of narrative to read, select, and combine digital media according to the formal elements, symbolic relationships, and the ways in which their students might perceive them. This is further discussed in relation to constructivist frameworks for understanding the functions of language and symbol systems in the construction of knowledge and meaning.

The network graph data of design reasoning identified technical issues such as difficulties in controlling the media and interacting with constructivist technologies that occasionally affected the three teachers' cognitive processing. This is discussed in relation to the traits of novice designers, the functions of novel representations (Ainsworth, 2006), and cognitive dissonance. The ethnographic document data were to a large extent determined by the three teachers' individual approaches to design practice and the particularities of their instructional presentations for their respective disciplines and student populations.

The findings of this study have implications for both the fields of multimedia learning research and teacher education in terms of learning how to design multimedia instructional presentations effectively. Professional development in learning how to design with computer graphics and new constructivist technologies is suggested.


Constructivism (Education); Educational technology -- Design; Educational technology -- Study and teaching (Graduate); Teachers -- Training of


Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Teacher Education and Professional Development

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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