Reflections on starting multimedia in education

Our instructor asked us to reflect on two questions for the multimedia course. The first question was:

  1. What do you think you already know about the use of media for learning and teaching?

I’ve read a number of articles about media in learning as I’ve gone through my program. Mayer and Moreno wrote several articles discussing dual-code theory and cognitive load theory as it pertains to multimedia. Their studies offer a lot of insight into designing effective media instruction. Clark and Kozma argued about whether media affects learning. Clark insisted that the media was just a vehicle which delivered learning, and Kozma disagreed, stating that newer media such as that provided by computers have the potential to change teaching and learning in dramatic ways.

Personally, I think media is a very effective way to teach. If you think about it, we are immersed in media as a culture and we are quite used to receiving messages in this manner. Ever since the inception of Sesame Street some 45 years ago, we’ve shown television to be an effective form of media for the education of children, and we are now educating them over the internet using a variety of multimedia as well.

His second question asked us:

2.  Discuss some examples of instances in which you have used media to teach or learn personally and how effective you found it to be.

I have personally developed several trainings which use a combination of screen cast, image overlay, audio narration, text reinforcement, and interaction to provide an introductory overview of Blackboard to both students and faculty on my campus. These have been well received by those who have viewed them. Our campus uses Atomic Learning; a website featuring software workshops which consist of short training videos usually less than 3 minutes each demonstrating one task or tool of the software program. Since adopting Atomic Learning last summer, usage has grown exponentially. Faculty tell me they can identify which students have taken advantage of the APA Formatting workshop they embed in their Blackboard courses and which do not, based solely on the difference in the papers handed in.

Overall, I expect this course to be quite useful to me. Even if Clark is right and the media is just a vehicle, this particular vehicle carries more, does it more efficiently, and looks better doing it. I tend to believe that well-designed media can and does impact learning, especially in the age of Web 2.0.

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