Planning for multimedia learning.
Fahy, Patrick J.
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Effective uses of multimedia in open and distance learning (ODL) depend upon various factors, some intrinsic to the media themselves, and others related to the differing pedagogic tasks and organizational environments into which these tools are introduced. For those planning use of multimedia, it may be valuable to consider the likely impacts of these tools on teaching and learning practices and outcomes, and on organizational structures and processes, as they are likely to be different in scope and magnitude from those of traditional instructional innovations. This chapter will discuss some of the characteristics of multimedia in relation to basic pedagogic tasks and organizational realities. The goal is to alert new users to issues which often arise in multimedia implementations, and to assist experienced users to assess their strategies, by outlining some fundamental considerations commonly affecting implementation of new multimedia. Both new and experienced technology users will hopefully find the discussion useful for reflecting on options, and anticipating potential pedagogic and administrative challenges, as they move from simpler to more complex combinations of media for teaching. The chapter begins with a discussion of the term multimedia, including a review of some of the characteristics (including common pedagogic benefits and potential issues) of specific media. Based on this analysis, some of the conditions under which multimedia might readily support learning tasks are explored. (Issues particular to the Internet are considered in this context.) Finally, the impact of multimedia as an innovation on aspects of organizational culture (including structure and finances) are addressed.