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Background music: beneficial or a distraction?

Some people need something going on in the background in order to think and others do not. With regards to online learning and more specifically development, this is a fine line for those developing web-based learning environments.

How does one meet the needs of all learners in an environment? Clark and Mayer's (2008) view is that background music may be detrimental when learning new materials. However, in your opinion, when do you think audio is extraneous and when do you think it helps?

Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2008). E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumer and designer of multimedia learning. (2nd ed.) San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

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In my opinion, I think that audio is almost always unnecessary and extraneous especially when it is background music. This is because the extraneous audio is often too loud, obnoxious, and not what I normally listen to. ...

Solution Summary

The expert determines whether background music is beneficial or a distraction. The learners in an environment are given.