Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Kun Huang


Mayer’s Segmenting Principle requires an instructional designer to both break the instruction into small functional pieces and pause instruction between each of these pieces until a student signals readiness to move on. Over decades of research, investigators have consistently demonstrated that segmented multimedia content achieves better learning assessment outcomes than continuous content across various academic disciplines, ages, and ability levels. While current segmenting research has shown impressive results in tightly controlled experimental scenarios, there is far less research on its application in the real world. To date, the vast majority of segmenting principle studies only assess short-term knowledge using an assessment immediately following the learning experience without examining whether the learning was effective past just a few hours or days. These studies also rely heavily on student performance data as the sole means of data collection, meaning that while researchers can verify the Segmenting Principle’s effectiveness, there is little understanding of what occurs during the learning process to make segmented learning more effective.

In contrast to past research, this study utilized a mixed methods case study framework to pose exploratory research questions about differences in the learning process when students are exposed to segmented content. Namely, the research collected and analyzed time spent viewing content pages to better understand student behavior and assessed student learning over months rather than days. Prior to the study, two modules were designed to teach electrical math principles to automotive technician students. The content of the modules was identical, but one module showed longer continuous video content while the other broke the videos down into smaller segments. To participate in the study, students first took a Course Pre-Test at the beginning of the semester that included the math skills used in the modules. Midsemester, students completed three online modules for math homework, each with short follow-up assessments at the beginning of their next class. They were unaware that the module gathered evidence of their learning behavior while completing it. They also completed a short survey about their experience learning from the modules. Finally, at the end of the semester, students took a Final Exam that tested them on the skills they learned.

Data analysis involved comparing learning outcomes over time, learning behaviors, and survey responses to learn more about how learning occurs through multimedia content. Both the segmented and continuous modules effectively improved short-term, medium-term, and long-term learning outcomes for learning transfer. Also, notable differences in learning behaviors exist between students learning from segmented and continuous modules for the amount of time spent on content pages. Students learning from the segmented modules viewed the content pages for more extended periods and spent a greater proportion of their overall time on the module viewing content pages.

Future research designs must work to identify the relationship between time and learning by conducting more research in flipped or distance learning classrooms across an array of disciplines. Also, it is vital to learn more about the differences in learner behavior observed between the two groups. Future studies should examine whether these behavioral patterns are consistent in the larger population, and collect more qualitative data to understand why differences are occurring. Pursuing some of these questions, such as using behavioral data from flipped classrooms with quantitative frameworks and large sample sizes will help us begin to understand whether these factors potentially enjoy a causal relationship with successful learning outcomes.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)