6 Ways Student to Content Interactivity with Multimedia Helps Students Learn!

Step 1: Read the next 100 pages of the textbook
Step 2: Do the assignment

Yikes!  Have I seen this before? Unfortunately, yes. Have you? Maybe so. So why does this still exist in some online courses? The student to content interaction is super important and is so much more than just looking at the words of a text reading.

As blended learning/online educators, we talk a lot about the student to student interactions in online classes as well as the student to teacher interactions through discussion boards, blogs, email, text, etc.  For this post, I want to focus only on the student to content interactions (that are hopefully aligned to the goals & objectives of the course).

If you’ve ever evaluated an online course, you probably noticed that some have a lot of highly engaging interactive content, while others are pretty basic (read these pages, now do the assignment) Sound familiar? 😉

Thankfully, there are a ton of great ways to increase student-to-content interaction that will not only make courses more enjoyable for students, but also will help them learn more!
Some include:

  • Presentation Interactions – interacting with the content of the lesson, not just reading
  • Video Interactions – not just watching a video on youtube
  • Practice Interactions – the lesson is more than read this and now do this.
  • Learning Games – games can be fun and stil effective if designed properly
  • Misc Interactions – diagrams, tables, flashcards, etc
  • Mobile Interactions – take advantage of their mobile devices to help them learn

For more information on these types of interactions, you can read more about them here.

So with all these different types of interactions. What are the benefits? Here are just a few. This was taken from research I gathered a while ago so excuse the “unbloglike” and more “reportish” writting style. 😉


6 Ways Increasing Student-to-Content Interactivity with Multimedia Helps Students Learn.

1.     Increases Learning

Steven Hick, a Carleton University Professor stated that not only does interactive multimedia have a strong positive effect on learning, but that learners learn faster and have better attitudes towards their learning experience. – Benefits of Interactive Multimedia Courseware.

 In a study by Forrester Research, respondents identified the lack of interactivity 56% of the time as the most common obstacle to a successful elearning strategy.  – Overcoming human obstacles to E-learning.

A study was done to determine whether the addition of interactivity to a computer-based learning package enhances the learning process. The result was that interactive systems facilitate deep learning by actively engaging the learner in the learning process. – The Interactivity Effect in Multimedia Learning.

Studies also show that at-risk students and students with special needs benefit from using interactive multimedia. Bagui explains that “multimedia may make it easier for people to learn because it can supply “stimulating environments” that “encourage students involvement” in the learning process. – Technologies for Education.

In addition to these studies, a major transportation company reported an increase in bottom-line performance of over 35% which equated to millions in increased revenues and savings when integrating interactive multimedia to their training. Learners also showed a 40% increased in learning retention. – ROI with Blended E-learning.

2.     Enables Students with Varying Learning Styles to Learn in a Variety of Ways

Interactive multimedia, when used correctly, enables students to learn in a variety of ways addressing several learning styles and modalities. – Educational Benefits of Interactive Multimedia, – Innovative Teaching, Cognitive Styles and Computer-aided Learning.

Researchers Mishra & Sharma found that interactive multimedia is also capable of presenting “true-to-life” situations. Decision tree simulations, video simulations, and simple animations that allow learners to learn-by-viewing, learn-by-doing, or learn-by-coaching are all effective methods for developing a practical skill and increase retention. – Interactive Multimedia in Education and Training.

3.     Provides Consistent and Continuous Feedback

Interactive self assessments provide feedback that help students improve. – Blackboard Exemplary Course Requirement. This feedback encourages students to feel safe and try because they know that they can fail without humiliation.  When they feel free to try, it enables them to learn. – Articulate Elearning Blog.

4.     Increases Retention with a Shorter Learning Time

Over 30 studies have found that interactive technologies reduce learning time requirements by an average of 50 percent – Learning Benefits of Interactive technologies. Interactive multimedia keeps learners interested in the content while reinforcing the skills. It encourages learners to return again and again through continual practice.

Research has shown that people remember 20% of what they see, 40% of what they see and hear, but about 75% of what they see and hear and do simultaneously. Interactive multimedia has been shown to elicit the highest rate of information retention and results in a shorter learning time. – Innovative Teaching, Benefits of Interactive Multimedia Courseware.

5.     Empowers and Motivates while Eliciting a Positive Attitude Towards the Course Content

Interactive multimedia is more likely to be enjoyed by learners than non-interactive content. It elicits positive attitudes towards the application and students feel empowered and more in control of their learning. – Benefits of Interactive Multimedia.

Students are able to learn better since they use multiple sensory modalities (hearing, seeing, and doing).  They are motivated to pay more attention to the information presented and better retain the information. – Innovative Teaching.

6.     Offloads Repetitive Teaching Tasks that Allow Teachers to Focus on Specific Issues.

Interactive multimedia offloads repetitive training tasks and allows facilitators (or teachers in our case) to focus on other issues. – Benefits of Interactive Multimedia Courseware.

A military organization found an increase in the ability to correctly diagnose and repair aircraft systems the “first time” by more than 80% when interactive multimedia was integrated into their training. – ROI with Blended E-learning.

I’m sure there are a lot of other benefits out there but what do you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on all this. What have you found? Please leave a comment below.

Resources:Benefits of Interactive Multimedia Courseware, by Steven Hick Ph.D. Professor, Carleton University
1997 by Trican Multimedia Solutions Inc.  

Cognitive Styles and Computer-Aided Learning (CAL): Exploring designer and user perspectives. Paper presented at the PATT-11 conference: New media in education, Eidenhoven, the Netherlands. Atkinson, S. (2001).

Educational Benefits of Multimedia. R.S. Gilliver, B. Randall & Y.M. Pok (1998), ‘learning in cyberspace: shaping the future’, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, Vol. 14, No 14, 212-222)

Innovative Teaching: Using Multimedia in a Problem-Based Learning Environment – Mai Neo and Ken T. ‘K. Neo, Faculty of Creative Multimedia, Malaysia 2001

Interactive Multimedia in Education and Training, Sanjaya Mishra & Ramesh C. Sharma. 2005

Learning Benefits of Interactive Technologies. Miller, R. L, Multimedia and Videodisc Monitor, February 1990, pg. 14

ROI with Blended E-learning, White Paper Report, 2001

The Interactivity Effect in Multimedia Learning, Centre for Educational Multimedia. Chris Evans & Nicola J. Gibbons. Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, UK.

The Rapid E-learning Blog, Three Things I learned about learning on my deathbed. Tom Kuhlmann http://www.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/


One thought on “6 Ways Student to Content Interactivity with Multimedia Helps Students Learn!

  1. Multimedia teaching is more intuitive than old ways; teachers can simulate situations in real life. In many circumstances teachers don’t have to be there, students will learn by themselves in the class. More importantly, teachers will have more approaches to stimulating students’ passion of learning.

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