What we think we know about the use of multimedia in learning and teaching
By: Andrew McGuffee
To start off with I’ll address what I already know, or at least what I think I know, about the many applications of multimedia in regards to learning and teaching. Along with this I’ll discuss why this is important to the “modern-day instructor” and how I have personally applied media to enhance the act of learning and teaching.
What I think I know…
As a student of instructional systems design (ISD) I’ve had the pleasure of tirelessly researching and analyzing both the theory and practice of how we learn and teach. In this process, I’ve noticed a growing trend in the use of multimedia within the field of education. It seems to me that the benefits of this user-centered approach are too hard to ignore, even for those staunchly opposed to E-learning. What I perceive to be one of the most important qualities of media in the learning environment, is its unique ability to actively engage the learner. As an instructional systems designer I love the idea of being able to tailor my content to any particular subject through multimedia applications.
Why this is important…
Connectivity has revolutionized the way we do almost everything in this world, including the act of learning and teaching. It has become very apparent to those who work in the field of education that technology isn’t going anywhere. One of the most important realizations of this fact is that at the center of our new found connectivity is the constant use of digital media. Integrating multimedia into education seems to be a crucial step in adapting to the way we receive and process our information.
My personal experience…
My experience with creating an enhanced weapons training program for the 7th Security Forces Squadron (7th SFS) at Dyess AFB was made possible through the use of multimedia. The AFI’s (Air Force Instructions) which consisted of a mind numbing manual that dictated everything from weapons safety to how to properly dispose of hazardous materials was proving less and less effective. If your eyes are already starting to close then have no fear, your not alone. Most of the troops I talked to didn’t even bother reading the first page of their AFI’s and instead, relied on hands-on experience. There seemed to be a direct correlation between lack of knowledge and lack of interest when it came to weapons training. It was being delivered the same way it had been for 30+ years and most, if not all of the Airmen and even staff sergeants were getting nothing out of it. I found by combining the key points and instructions featured in our AFI’s with informative video content, and online computer-based training (CBT’s) we were not only vastly improve the delivery of our weapons training program. It should be noted that I did not achieve this accomplishment alone, but was fortunate enough to be part of the team that helped develop and implement it. Like most people, I tend to do better if I’m interested in the content I’m learning. My ultimate goal is to provide my audience with the chance to not only learn but also to enjoy the process of doing so.