Game based training, multimedia learning, modality effect, temporal contiguity, information processing, learning


There is an increasing interest in using video games as a means to deliver training to individuals learning new skills or tasks. However, current research lacks a clear method of developing effective instructional material when these games are used as training tools and explaining how gameplay may affect learning. The literature contains multiple approaches to training and GBT but generally lacks a foundational-level and theoretically relevant approach to how people learn specifically from video games and how to design instructional guidance within these gaming environments. This study investigated instructional delivery within GBT. Video games are a form of multimedia, consisting of both imagery and sounds. The Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (CTML; Mayer 2005) explicitly describes how people learn from multimedia information, consisting of a combination of narration (words) and animation (pictures). This study empirically examined the effects of the modality and temporal contiguity principles on learning in a game-based virtual environment. Based on these principles, it was hypothesized that receiving either voice or embedded training would result in better performance on learning measures. Additionally, receiving a combination of voice and embedded training would lead to better performance on learning measures than all other instructional conditions. A total of 128 participants received training on the role and procedures related to the combat lifesaver - a non-medical soldier who receives additional training on combat-relevant lifesaving medical procedures. Training sessions involved an instructional presentation manipulated along the modality (voice or text) and temporal contiguity (embedded in the game or presented before gameplay) principles. Instructional delivery was manipulated in a 2x2 between-subjects design with four instructional conditions: Upfront-Voice, Upfront-Text, Embedded-Voice, and Embedded-Text. Results indicated that: (1) upfront instruction led to significantly better retention performance than embedded instructional regardless of delivery modality; (2) receiving voice-based instruction led to better transfer performance than text-based instruction regardless of presentation timing; (3) no differences in performance were observed on the simple application test between any instructional conditions; and (4) a significant interaction of modality-by-temporal contiguity was obtained. Simple effects analysis indicated differing effects along modality within the embedded instruction group, with voice recipients performing better than text (p = .012). Individual group comparisons revealed that the upfront-voice group performed better on retention than both embedded groups (p = .006), the embedded-voice group performed better on transfer than the upfront text group (p = .002), and the embedded-voice group performed better on the complex application test than the embedded-text group (p =.012). Findings indicated partial support for the application of the modality and temporal contiguity principles of CTML in interactive GBT. Combining gameplay (i.e., practice) with instructional presentation both helps and hinders working memory's ability to process information. Findings also explain how expanding CTML into game-based training may fundamentally change how a person processes information as a function of the specific type of knowledge being taught. Results will drive future systematic research to test and determine the most effective means of designing instruction for interactive GBT. Further theoretical and practical implications will be discussed.


If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at

Graduation Date





Mouloua, Mustapha


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program

Psychology; Human Factors Psychology








Release Date

December 2014

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

Included in

Psychology Commons