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Learning with multimedia – concepts and experiences.

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Multimedia offers new exciting chances for learning. Learners can acquire knowledge by means of structured information being presented in several modalities, they can learn wherever and whenever they like. They can make use of dynamic presentations like animations and simulations. Therefore learning with multimedia is expected to be more activating, more motivating, more flexible and more efficient than traditional learning.

However, learning with multimedia also poses new questions and limitations. Experiences and scientific studies show that learning with multimedia is subject to several constraints. The purpose of this contribution is to assume an intermediate position. The question is therefore which conditions favour learning with multimedia. Three topics will be addressed:

—Learning with multimedia as an interdisciplinary issue

—Learning with multimedia – metaanalyses, reviews, studies and experiences

—Learning with multimedia – concepts for developing and tools for building applications

Learning and teaching with multimedia poses interdisciplinary demands, particularly concerning computer technology, psychology and pedagogy. We need to know the hardware and software constraints of multimedia, implications for perception, learning and memory and influence on culture and education. These aspects have to be integrated in order to enhance learning with multimedia.

Meta-analyses, reviews and evaluations clearly show, that learning with multimedia is not efficient per se, but depends on numerous moderators like learning strategy, knowledge level, computer experience or method of instruction. Our own experiences indicate that learning with multimedia is not a substitute for traditional teaching but rather a good complement. Students prefer variable, flexible educational methods being applied by highly motivated and motivating teachers.

Finally, we introduce and discuss two concepts (instructional design and new-media-engineering model) and four tools for developing multimedia (based on icon structure, hypermedia structure, time intervals and object orientation).


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2001

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