How can you engage your online learners effectively? What does it take to ensure your learners actively participate in the learning process? Well, you need to make the best use of multimedia in your e-learning courses.
Studies by Miller (2009) show that the effective use of multimedia goes a long way in creating learner interest in the subject-matter of the online course. The studies also revealed multimedia play a key role in conveying the intended message. Here are 3 proven tips to harness the full potential of multimedia in your online course design.
1. Get the graphics right
Graphics are an important component of the multimedia strategy of online course design. In her whitepaper Six Principles of Effective e-Learning: What Works and Why, Ruth Clark advises e-learning designers to use graphics that are congruent with the instructional message. Clark points out adding graphics for “decorative” purposes adds no value, and therefore, needs to be avoided. You need to choose graphics based on the type of learning content. For instance, to explain a process effectively, you need to use animated visuals that explain each stage of the process.
2. Use avatars for taking learners through the course
Avatars or animated learning agents are very useful pieces of multimedia and go a long way in enhancing the efficacy of your online course. In her article, Avatars in E-Learning, Vanessa Bailey states adding avatars creates interest in learners and motivates them. She points out avatars help learners connect with the course and make up for the lack of human interaction. Bailey advises e-learning designers to use a conversational tone to present the content using avatars. Research conducted by Mayer on the use of avatars revealed the appearance of the avatar did not impact the effectiveness of the e-learning course – animated images of animals were as effective as those of humans. We used the avatar of an ant to impart training on supply chain basics very effectively.
3. Add music and sound effects only when they enhance the learning experience
Many designers of self-paced online learning courses add music and/or other sound effects only to make their courses more interesting. Tom Kuhlmann, in his article, Should You Add Background Audio to Your E-Learning Courses?, states the unnecessary use of sound effects can result in poor learning experiences, as it affects the ability of learners to process information. He suggests audio is best used to provide emotional cues. Kuhlmann cites the example of the movie Jaws where the music kept the audience waiting anxiously for events to unfold and advises online course designers to replicate similar experiences.
The proper use of multimedia enhances the effectiveness of online courses and delivers memorable learning experiences. E-learning designers need to use visuals which enhance the instructional value of the online course. They need to harness the full potential of avatars for presenting the content in an interesting manner. It is important to add music and sound effects only when they result in better learning experiences. Hope you liked this post. Do share your views.