Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

John I. Liontas, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sanghoon Park, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Yiping Lou, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Philip Smith, Ph.D.


digital learning, instructional technology, animation, video


This study investigated the involvement of the Social Agency Theory within a multimedia learning environment to improve English language proficiency. The primary aim of this study is to find the effects of designing language learning instructional videos following the embodiment principle on language learners’ motivation, cognitive load and performance in production of the target language. According to Social Agency Theory, when multimedia learning includes social cues like an on-screen agent with humanlike features (e.g., hand gestures, body movements, eye contact, and facial expressions), the quality of learning will be increased. To examine the effect of the embodiment principle, the study designed three different videos in which three different levels of the embodiment principle were applied: a high-embodied agent (HEA), a low-embodied agent (LEA), and voice-only agent (VOA). Then, a comparison of the three videos was made, which in turn served as a comparison of the effectiveness of the embodiment principle when applied to an agent in instructional videos. Participants were recruited from the preparatory year program—a college year with a concentration in English language courses that precedes the English Language and Literature program. Data on cognitive load, motivation, and grammatical performance were collected online using several instruments to answer the three research questions. A quantitative analysis of three levels of the independent variable experimental design was employed. ANOVA tests were done to the three dependent variables. The findings showed statistically significant results of the embodiment principle in reducing the cognitive load, namely, in the mean score of HEA compared to LEA groups. However, no significant results were found between HEA and VOA groups. Looking at the three components of the cognitive load, the extraneous cognitive load was the only significant component among the three: intrinsic cognitive load, extraneous cognitive, and germane cognitive load. There was a statistically significant lower extraneous cognitive load score of HEA than the LEA. The findings did not show a significant difference among the groups’ level of motivation or grammar performance. The study started from the hypothesis that learning an English language grammatical concept through a customized video, which includes a HEA, could improve learners’ motivation, cognitive load, and performance. The results of this study provide new information on the extent to which such a video likely does and does not improve students’ learning experiences.