I have discovered that the use of single media-based instruction can be very useful when taking a direct approach to teaching. When I am attempting to design a particular set of instructions with a singular goal this seems to be a great route to take. For instance, in the case of my step-by-step visual instructions for constructing a paper airplane simple graphics do the trick. On the other hand, if I was attempting to teach someone how to exercise something like weapons safety this may not be the best choice. My point is that it really comes down to the subject matter of your material. There are somethings that are actually improved when simplified, and others that are not.
Of course, single media-based instruction is not without its drawbacks. There are a number of reasons why this is but perhaps the most prevalent one is the fact that it doesn’t always cover what’s needed. This in itself is a simplified way of saying that a design that employs a single media limits the student in the ways they can learn. Needless to say there is not a one-size-fits-all way of teaching and anytime an instructor decides to limit the method of delivery they put the student’s intellectual growth at risk. As Clark mentioned in his piece, perhaps one of the biggest obstacles preventing a full description of materials is lack of space itself. To me, this experience of designing instructions through singular and multiple forms of media has taught me how better to tailor my content.
Clark, R. E. (1994). Media and method. Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(3), 7-10.