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In its broadest sense, message design explores the optimal arrangement of words, images, sounds, and motion to communicate meaning most effectively to a particular audience within a given context. Instructional message design, therefore, seeks to create learning materials that are optimally effective in communicating educational content. Within the context of instruction, message design has historically existed at the intersection of communication and learning theories. Whereas communication models explore how best to construct and send messages, learning models focus on how messages are received, decoded, and committed to memory. The idea has been to find ways to design optimally effective instructional messages that will most effectively mediate learners’ cognitive processing.

In addition to myriad nondigital media, the instructional message designer’s palette of available digital media includes audio, ...

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