Top 5 Benefits of Multimedia in eLearning
What is multimedia in eLearning?
Multimedia learning involves using the aid of technology to deliver a blend of text, static images, animation, video and audio. Some examples of common types of media used for learning are slide decks, recorded videos, infographics and podcasts. Each of the various types of media supports learning by enabling learners to use their different senses. Rather than simply reading words, they can also hear and see the content – which enriches the learning experience.
Multimedia in eLearning can take many forms, such as:
- Video: Pre-recorded video or a series of videos can be used to explain complex concepts or demonstrate procedures and techniques.
- Images and infographics: Images and infographics can be used to present data and information in a visually appealing and easy-to-understand manner.
- Interactive media: Interactive elements, such as quizzes, simulations, and games, can be used to engage learners and provide them with a more immersive learning experience.
- Audio: Audio recordings such as podcasts or voice notes can be used to provide learners with spoken instructions, feedback, or commentary on course materials.
- Animations: Animations can be used to illustrate complex processes or systems, making them easier to understand and remember.
- Social media: Social media can be used to facilitate collaboration and communication among learners and between learners and instructors. Most social platforms allow you to create groups where you can come together to discuss a common thread.
Multimedia in eLearning is a powerful tool for enhancing the learning experience and making it more engaging, interactive, and effective. It allows course creators to deliver content in various formats that cater to different learning styles and preferences, ultimately resulting in a more personalized and effective learning experience for learners.
In this article, we share the top five benefits of incorporating multimedia learning into your digital instruction.
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What role does multimedia learning play in the digital learning design process?
Multimedia learning plays a crucial role in the digital learning design process. It involves the use of various media types, mentioned above to enhance the learning experience and make it more engaging and effective.
In the digital learning design process, if you follow the design principles for multimedia learning, it can be used to:
Identify learning objectives: Multimedia elements can be used to identify the learning objectives of the course by providing visual and interactive representations of the learning outcomes. For example, a course designer can use infographics to present the course goals and objectives in a visually appealing way.
Develop content: Multimedia elements can be used to develop content by presenting information in various formats, such as videos, images, and animations. This helps to make the content more engaging and easier to understand.
Repurpose content: Multimedia elements can be used to repurpose content into different formats to cater for learners differing needs.
Enhance engagement: Multimedia elements can be used to enhance learner engagement by providing more stimulating and interactive learning experience. For example, interactive simulations can be used to provide learners with a hands-on learning experience.
Assess learning: Multimedia elements can be used to assess learning by providing interactive quizzes and assessments that provide instant feedback to learners. This helps to identify areas where learners need to improve and adjust the course content accordingly.
Facilitate collaboration: Multimedia elements can be used to facilitate collaboration by providing opportunities for learners to interact with each other and share their knowledge and experiences. For example, discussion forums and social media can be used to encourage learners to engage with each other and share their thoughts and ideas.
The importance of multimedia in digital learning
With a growing workforce in hybrid or remote work environments, multimedia in digital learning not only has its benefits, but is important for ensuring all employees are receiving the level of education and training needed to succeed at their jobs. The use of video, audio, graphics, and animations can help to break up text-heavy content and can make learning more interesting and memorable when employees need to retain important information.
Multimedia also ensures learning is accessible to a diverse range of learners. For example, videos with closed captions or transcripts can be beneficial for learners who are hearing impaired or for those who prefer to read along. Utilizing multimedia in your learning materials will ensure instructional designers or course designers will not need to build as many alternate learning options for the variety of learners you might be teaching.
Implementing multimedia in eLearning and digital learning solutions is also a cost-effective solution for companies that want to provide training and development opportunities for their employees but can not afford to run live trainings for each new cohort of learners. By leveraging existing technology and resources, companies can create multimedia content that can be used repeatedly and shared across teams.
1. Better problem solving
One of the main benefits of multimedia learning is that it increases learners’ problem-solving ability. This is due to the fact that multimedia learning is oftentimes more interactive and stimulating. As opposed to reading a problem in a textbook, learners are able to visually see the problem and therefore enhance their ability to solve it.
One study even showed that multimedia learning can increase learners’ motivation, level of understanding and teamwork – which can all lead to better problem-solving. Multimedia learning is just more engaging for learners and allows them to dig deeper into problems in order to find better solutions. For this reason, using different types of media can be especially beneficial when using the Problem-Based Learning method.
2. Deeper understanding of the material
Another important benefit of multimedia learning is that it enables learners to develop a deeper understanding of the material. The educational psychologist, Richard Mayer, developed a widely accepted theory that explains why multimedia learning leads to deeper understanding. His theory, which is known as the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning, purports that multimedia enables the brain to process information through multiple channels, thus leading to deeper understanding.
Two channels through which the brain processes information are visual and auditory. When these two channels are deployed effectively, learners can understand the content quicker and more comprehensively. As learners have more information stored, they are also better able to recall the information at a later time. Therefore, multimedia enables learners to both gain and retain a deeper understanding of the learning content.
3. Higher positive emotions
It is well-known that emotions play a critical role in learning. When learners have more positive emotions, such as joy, interest, gratitude, and amusement, they are more likely to achieve better learning outcomes. Since multimedia learning has been shown to increase positive emotions, it can also improve learning.
Having positive emotions can increase learners’ ability to solve problems, think creatively, pay attention and retain information – which are all key facets of effective learning. Therefore, it should be a goal of instructional design to increase the level of positive emotions in learners. And for this reason multimedia learning can be such a powerful tool. Since multimedia learning includes more interaction and stimulation, it is often more enjoyable for learners.
A way to further enhance the positive emotions that stem from multimedia learning is to apply principles from Emotional Design. Conceptualised by the cognitive scientist and leading UX researcher, Don Norman, Emotional Design is a framework for creating designs that elicit positive emotions.
Norman proposes that users experience three levels of cognition: visceral, behavioural, and reflective. Visceral refers to the appearance and first impressions that users have of a product, or in this case learning experience. Behavioural refers to usability. And reflective refers to whether learners benefited from the overall experience.
When learners are enjoying themselves and experiencing positive emotions, they are in a better cognitive state to learn. Therefore, by incorporating Emotional Design into your multimedia strategies, you’re able to create learning experiences that tap into the emotions of learners – and greatly increase their capacity to learn.
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4. Access to knowledge
With the emergence of the internet, society gained access to a vast amount of information that was previously unavailable. While this increased access to information has had numerous benefits, one of the most pivotal has been the impact that it has had on education and learning. Because the internet includes seemingly infinite amounts of information from different sources and in various formats, it has greatly enhanced the potential of multimedia learning.
One example of this is the use of YouTube videos in lessons. If an instructor came across a video that illustrated a concept in an engaging and impactful way, they could choose to add this to the lesson plan. In addition to videos, digital learning professionals can find graphics, audio files, and even games online.
Having access to these different types of media is an important benefit of multimedia learning. Educators and trainers no longer have to rely on textbooks and slide decks. But they now have the ability to leverage the varying types of multimedia learning resources that the internet provides.
5. Immersive learning opportunities
Providing learners the opportunity to utilise more of their senses enables them to really immerse themselves in the material. And this is one reason why multimedia learning can be such a beneficial method. As multimedia learning incorporates visuals and audio, it enables learners to explore the material hands on.
For example, if an instructor is teaching a lesson on space, they could put a list of facts about space on a PowerPoint slide. But they could also show images of galaxies seen through the Hubble Telescope. Which one do you think would be more memorable?
However, while the breathtaking images of galaxies may be more engaging, this doesn’t mean that the lesson shouldn’t also incorporate text as well. Using visuals in addition to the text gives learners more context so that they can dive deeper into the material. For this reason, the potential for learners to immerse themselves in the material is a major benefit of multimedia learning.
The future of multimedia in eLearning
This method of instruction is only expected to increase as we continue to live in a remote and digital world and the shift in jobs available to our workforce. New types of learning technologies, such as virtual reality, will provide digital learning professionals a new avenue to keep learners fully engaged. Immersive learning will utilize theories and practices from traditional learning, but it is becoming increasingly important that these learning designers are certified and have hands-on practice with the technology available to them.
Even if you currently use different types of media in your instruction, staying ahead of the curve by on the latest multimedia learning strategies and technologies will help you better meet your learning objectives and help you advance your career. You can do this with specialty certifications, like this specialty certificate in Immersive Learning from the Digital Learning Institute, or being professional certified as a digital learning designer with a Diploma in Digital Learning.