In my experience with on- and offline education, I find that usage of multimedia is a great way to renovate the usage of the traditional brick and mortar classroom teaching materials, e.g., whiteboards, books, flip boards, into an interactive environment that uses synchronous, asynchronous and the blended modes of pedagogy. These new technological learning materials have many advantages over the “old school” materials. For one, they can be accessed globally by any student, at any time, and at any place.
Another positive point in using multimedia tools is that they are usually intuitively beneficial. Multimedia learning tends to optimize the use of the learner’s senses through the use of sound, vision and spatial awareness. AL-Hunaiyyan et al., 2008, in the International Journal of Cyber Society and Education state that the use of online multimedia also “enables the benefits of face-to-face learning while also allowing asynchronous delivery”.
However great instructors tout the use of multimedia for online classes, there are many things that need to be considered prior to planning courses that incorporate multimedia. For example, the cultural aspects are very important. If the presentations are to be recorded for each diverse region, the costs of the recordings can quickly add up and possibly become extremely expensive. Also, the requirement of high bandwidth for multimedia can exclude many students who do not have access to high speed internet. Additionally, cultural sensitivity needs to be seriously taken into consideration. The multimedia delivery needs to ensure that the dress, language and humor are universally accepted.
Although technology is steadily making advances, e.g., the low cost of hardware and software, there are still many obstacles that need to be taken into consideration so that the students can enjoy their courses without having to get frustrated over technical issues. When planning an online course, it would benefit the students to know ahead of time what software or hardware they would be required to have. A list could be given to them that would tell that what are the minimum requirements needed to fully enjoy the class. Requirements such as:
- Sound card with audio in and out.
- Internet access with at least 10mb download.
- Software plugins: Adobe Flash.
- Either Google Chrome v. 72.0 or Microsoft Edge v. 44.17763.
Instructors will also need to provide students with enough reference materials and resources so that the learners can use technology tools effectively in collaboration with other students. I have found that many suppliers brag about how easy their tools, both synchronous and asynchronous, are to use. However, I find that I still need plenty of time to understand them and acclimatize myself in using them within the new learning environment. I can only imagen how much more time a non-tech savvy person would need.
AL-Hunaiyyan, A., Al-Huwail, N. & Al-Sharhan, S. (2008). Blended E-Learning design: Discussion of cultural issues. International Journal of Cyber Society and Education, 1(1), 17-32.
Hoffman, J. (2012). Technology’s Impact on E-Learning. WebJunction webpage. Retrieved on February 7, 2019 from https://www.webjunction.org/documents/webjunction/Technology_039_s_Impact_on_E_045_Learning.html
Lau, R.W., Yen, N.Y., Li, F. & Wah, B. (2014). Recent development in multimedia e-learning technologies, World Wide Web, 17, 189-198.