The interactivity principle in multimedia learning states that giving learners control over pace and order of instructions decreases cognitive load and increases transfer performance. We tested this guideline by comparing a learner-paced instruction with a system-paced instruction. Time-on-task and interactive behavior were logged, and were also related to interest, prior knowledge, and cognitive involvement. We successfully replicated the interactivity principle in terms of better transfer. However, this coincided with a large increase in time-on-task. Also, large individual differences existed in the use of learner control options, which were mostly unrelated to the other variables. Thus, the benefits of introducing learner control in multimedia learning are at the expense of learning efficiency, and it remains unclear for whom the interactivity principle works best.

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Keywords Cognitive load, Interactivity principle, Learner control, Multimedia learning
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Journal Instructional Science: an international journal of learning and cognition
Tabbers, H.K, & de Koeijer, B. (2010). Learner control in animated multimedia instructions. Instructional Science: an international journal of learning and cognition, 38(5), 441–453. doi:10.1007/s11251-009-9119-4