Emotional design of multimedia learning using background images with motivational cues

Sungwon Chung, Jongpil Cheon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Emotional design for multimedia learning can be implemented primarily using aesthetic design elements (e.g., color, shape and layout); however, we still have limited understanding on emotional design using content features visually depicting motivational cues. This study examines how valence and arousal of emotional learning content, generated by background images, in multimedia learning influenced learners' retention of factual knowledge and cognitive load, using a 2 (valence: positive, negative) × 2 (arousal: moderately low, moderately high) between-subjects experiment. The results showed significant interaction effects, implying the positive effects of using moderately low arousing negative images on both recognition and cued-recall test scores. Both scores were significantly lower when moderately high arousing negative images were used; however, they did not differ with increasing arousal of positive images. The emotional content did not influence germane and extraneous loads. Our findings emphasize the need for considering optimal levels of valence and arousal in emotional design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)922-932
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Computer Assisted Learning
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • arousal
  • emotional design
  • motivated cognition
  • multimedia learning
  • valence


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