Multimedia is a technology that has taken business, industry, and education alike by storm. The proliferation of educational and training materials, incorporation of digitized sound, speech, images, and full motion video, with high speed computers and videodisc players that break the paradigm of linear, teacher-driven instruction promises to revolutionize the way we learn.
The effective application of this technology in education and training assists the audience in retaining most of the information they hear, what they see, and what they interact with. In multimedia presentation, learning occurs faster than with classroom instruction, and course content is mastered faster. Perhaps equally important is that when compared with classroom instruction, interactive multimedia learning also results in better training. Studies show that participants increase understanding, resulting in greater learning gains.
Computer technology provides a prominent and multifaceted tool that can transform the way educators teach and the way students learn. Consequently, there is an improved ability to search for abstract or complex material with increased student comprehension and interest. Instructors should thus consider the nature of technology and the potential range of its uses in higher education. One potential use of computer-enhanced instruction at the university level is to complement lecture courses in ways in which the computer-enhanced instruction program reviews, reinforces, or adds to materials presented in class. This is accomplished by integrating a variety of media sources such as words, graphs, sound and visuals. The result is an improved ability to present abstract or complex material with increased student comprehension and interest.
Research has shown that students usually learn more in classes in which they receive computer-based instruction and that they learn their lessons in less time with computer based instruction. Multimedia allow students to learn in their own style and at their own pace. An additional benefit is that CD-ROMs provide media and visually rich material that is more likely to correspond effectively with students’ individual learning styles.
Presentation programs offer college teachers the possibility of preparing educational materials that combine the visual as well as the auditory modes of learning. If the presented materials read clearly, the design incorporates a visual analogy, and the graphic presentation uses sound principles of emphasis and harmony, computer-enhanced instruction can dramatically portray new ideas.
Learning is a continuous process. However, the way instructors teach and students learn must be constantly reevaluated and updated. Teachers should be aware of the importance of using visuals to enhance information. Computer-enhanced instruction can be successful if faculty chooses to become leaders in the adoption of the use of technology to enhance lectures or presentations. The potential of technology is the ability of all students to learn at the highest levels with the greatest resources in order to have the promise of a future of real opportunity. Studies show significant links between multimedia instruction and achievement in traditional subject matter. Schools that integrate technology into the traditional curriculum have higher student attendance and lower drop out rates, which leads to better academic results.
It is believed that technology will continue to increase and become a standard part of the educational model. As this occurs, educators will have to put some of their traditional teaching techniques to the side to make room for multimedia. The old model of faculty lecture note taking has shown to be unsuccessful in making efficient use of faculty time for allocating information to large groups of learners or for learning by students with diverse backgrounds and skills.
However since students bring a wide variety of skills, backgrounds, interests, learning styles and motivations to the classroom, the challenge for teachers is to try to match the presentation material to such a diverse audience. Technology can address this problem in several ways. At a basic level, the variety of presentations provides a change of pace from a chalkboard or overhead projector. For example, a teacher could use technology to produce energetic animations, utilize computer models for complex systems, or to visualize three-dimensional data.
Another benefit of using various forms of multimedia is that complicated topics can be explained and understood better with the aid of pictures, graphs, animations and simulations. It also provides the option to present complex concepts in small, chronological steps as a means to improve students’ ability to comprehend information in a meaningful way. This concept is especially important for introductory classes that have students with assorted backgrounds and interests. Compared to the traditional presentation methods, multimedia has the capacity to offer instructors control over how and when information is presented to students.
Besides, a good number of universities have become captivated with multimedia instruction as a means to improve student satisfaction, performance and learning. Multimedia use in classes significantly motivates students by increasing student interest, involvement, enjoyment, and liking for the material covered in class.
The outcome of employing multimedia in teaching college students is a greater long-term retention compared to students taught by traditional classroom methods. It has also been observed that students taught with multimedia attend class more frequently and appear to be more interested than students taught without multimedia.
Consequently, multimedia will continue to grow at a rapid rate. Lectures that were once supplemented with chalkboards and transparencies can now be complemented with a large screen projection system that can handle the computer and the Internet.
Multimedia offers educators the opportunity to place their lectures onto the computer, along with new graphics and sound to create an engaging classroom presentation. This technology can lead to more active learning and adventurous teaching. By integrating technology sources into the classroom, courses can become more exciting and stimulating and possibly meet the needs of students with different learning styles.
Multimedia instruction increases learning content and retention, and reduces the amount of time it takes to learn material. Thus, traditional instructional and educational media must move to incorporate the concepts of multimedia. However, in order to maximize the potential of this technology, educators would have to be trained in the use of the most recent technology. This implies education not only in the available technology, but also the concepts governing effective production and usage, with a comprehensive curriculum providing both. This would thus facilitate teaching and learning for lecturers and students in educational institutions.