Plass and Kaplan, “Emotional Design in Digital Media for Learning”

Plass and Kaplan state that the goals of their chapter are to

(1) review basic concepts related to emotion and learning, (2) summarize research on emotional design in digital media for learning, (3) present a theoretical framework of learning from digital media that emphasizes the need to consider emotional design factors in addition to cognitive design factors when designing multimedia learning materials, and (4) develop a research agenda for the study of emotional design for multimedia learning. (p. 1)

A substantial portion of Plass and Kaplan’s discussion in pursuit of these goals involves their argument that emotional or affective considerations should complement cognitive considerations when designing genuinely effective multimedia learning material. Such an approach, they note, that diverges from more traditional multimedia design for learning, which often ignored or minimized the affective in favor of the cognitive. Cognition and emotion, they note, are “inherently interconnected,” and “[t]his interconnectedness is an essential aspect of the complexity of human consciousness” (p. 1).

The interconnected relationship between emotion and cognition is a dynamic one, wherein “dynamic cognition-emotion interactions… emerge and operate in ways that are highly contextualized (and hence sensitive to contextual factors)” (p. 22). These interactions, Plass and Kaplan conclude, “serve as motivating forces that guide human adaptation and learning in specific contexts” (p. 22).

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