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Dual coding theory (DCT) is a general theory of cognition that was first introduced by Allan Paivio in the 1970s as part of the cognitive revolution in psychology. It has since grown and expanded to explain issues such as various forms of literacy, intelligence, expertise, creativity, and the evolution of the human mind. Its relevance to educational technology is fundamental—it serves as a basis of virtually all current theories of multimedia learning. This entry explains DCT in general terms and discusses its relevance to educational technology, particularly multimedia learning.

The central assumptions of DCT can be stated succinctly. DCT assumes that all cognition involves the activity of two qualitatively different mental codes: a verbal code specialized for dealing with language, and a nonverbal code specialized for ...

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