Rethinking Multimedia Design for Learning: Introduction to the Special Issue
This is an introduction for the Journal of Applied Instructional Design (Volume 11, Issue 4) Special Issue on "Rethinking Multimedia Design for Learning".
RISEing to the Challenge
During the 2021/2022 school year, the Course Production Team (CPT) at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte adopted the interactive-constructive-active-passive (ICAP) framework to aid in online course development processes. Using this framework, the CPT analyzed courses for areas where we could take passive learning, such as watching videos and reading, to a higher level of engagement. One of the ways we did this is through the creation of interactive presentations using Articulate Rise 360. Our goal with creating interactive presentations is to add a layer of kinesthetic movement for students along with small applications of the content through knowledge checks and checkpoints. In this article, we present the steps taken to adopt the ICAP framework, how we transformed faculty-led lectures into higher engaging (active) interactive lectures, and present three case-studies where this has been implemented.
Past Precedent
This design case documents the inception, development, and installation of a virtual exhibit on ethical use of learning analytics (LA) for the Museum of Instructional Design (MID), hosted in Mozilla Hubs. Tension emerged as the design team attempted to negotiate established principles of multimedia design theory (see Mayer, 2014; Mayer & Fiorella, 2021; Richardson, 2014) within an emerging learning environment. A rapid prototyping model, combined with elements of critical museology and dialectics, allowed for ongoing formative evaluation of design fidelity. Exhibit artifacts consisted of scenarios illustrating the ethical ambiguities of LA; a data justice timeline pairing recent peer-reviewed articles on LA with significant contemporaneous milestones in data privacy; audio zones highlighting the dialectical dialogue between those who support LA use and those who advise caution; and a response wall for museum visitors to extend the discussion. Beyond application of multimedia design principles to artifacts, 3D spaces also demand consideration of space and movement flow. Lacking precedent, this exhibit design was guided by the Smithsonian’s (2018) recommendations for in-person exhibits. It is the intention of the design team that this design case highlights the need for a reconsideration of established multimedia theory when designing for emerging learning environments.
Virtual Reality in Workplace Learning
The interest and use of Virtual Reality (VR) technology for workplace learning has been increasing and is projected to increase further based insights from scholarly literature, industry reports, and interviews with organization and learning leaders. We present and discuss perceived affordances, limitations, and future directions of VR learning based on interviews with 21 workplace learning leaders across sectors and industries. Perceived affordances include: (1) simulation of dangerous or difficult real life scenarios, (2) interpersonal and leadership skill development, (3) affordability, (4) data and assessments, (5) social learning, and (6) bridging the real and virtual. On the other hand, perceived limitations include: (1) limitations of experiences in VR, (2) hardware bottlenecks, (3) costs, and (4) limited acceptance of VR learning. Many study participants anticipated improvements in VR hardware fidelity and comfort, simplification of VR learning creation, and expansion of AR learning opportunities, while some anticipate no significant changes in VR learning opportunities and adoption. We also discuss recommendations for VR instructional design and implementation and various directions for further research.
Principles of Accessible Multimedia Learning
Multimedia presentations have been shown to benefit learners; as a result, multiple theories have been advanced to guide the presentation design process. This opinion paper addresses the most widely used of these theories, Mayer’s Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (CTML), advancing that CTML as well as cognitivism itself may work in opposition to the provision of accessible instruction. A review of literature finds Sweller’s decision to highlight threats to learners’ cognitive capacity for processing audio and visual stimuli to be a problematic choice that, in combination with the medical neuroscience lens used by learning scientists, engenders discrimination against students with disabilities. In response, this paper proposes a novel alternative cognitivism framework which positions cognition as driven by learners’ analysis of verbal and symbolic data, based on a return to Paivio’s depiction of cognition as based on the interpretation of verbal and symbolic signs. This alt cog approach is offered as an explanation for Mayer’s observation of boundary conditions for the redundancy principle, then used to recast multiple CTML theories as a set of principles for the design and development of instruction through accessible multimedia learning.
The Power of Visual Storytelling to Create Behavior-Change in the Workplace
When an educational experience is positive, engaging, and inspiring, it can transform the lives of learners. The opposite, however, is far worse than simply students suffering boredom and can include liabilities to poor education and training such as lowered confidence, increased apathy, reduced productivity, and more frequent job turnover (Wlodkowski et al., 2001). In a poll, only a quarter of business leaders claimed that their internal learning programs measurably improved business outcomes (Smet et al., 2021). This paper will outline how story-based learning media can activate universal motivators and improve learning retention. By creating stories that leverage universal motivators, designers can produce curricula that transcend simple knowledge transfer—and instead, effect behavior change.
Mediating Artifacts
While we usually discuss multimedia in the context of frameworks such as Mayer’s theory of multimedia learning, our frameworks for multimedia lack a contextualized approach that recognize other dimensions and impacts of the work we do with mediating artifacts. Educational technology at its core centers around the introduction of mediating artifacts into learning and performance environments. Shifting from an emphasis on media (i.e., things) to mediating allows us to differently frame the work we do and the artifacts we introduce into systems, emphasizing not merely the nature of the things but the impacts of them as well.
Going Beyond Formalisms
Computer-based interactive simulations that model the processes of sampling from a population are increasingly being used in data literacy education. However, these simulations are often summarized by graphs designed from the point of view of experts which makes them difficult for novices to grasp. In our ongoing design-based research project, we build and test alternative sampling simulations to the standard ones. Based on a grounded and embodied learning perspective, the core to our design position is that difficult and abstract sampling concepts and processes should: be grounded in familiar objects that are intuitive to interpret, incorporate concrete animations that spontaneously activate learners’ gestures, and be accompanied by verbal instruction for a deeply integrated learning. Here, we report the results from the initial two phases of our project. In the first iteration, through an online experiment (N=126), we show that superficial perceptual elements in a standard simulation can lead to misinterpretation of concepts. In the second iteration, we pilot test a new grounded simulation with think-aloud interviews (N=9). We reflect on the complementary affordances of visual models, verbal instruction, and learners’ gestures in fostering integrated and deep understanding of concepts.
Implementing Low-cost Immersive 360° Video Technology to Promote Core Skills in Journalism Courses
Intentional training in storytelling is fundamental in journalism education, and effective storytelling requires empathy and perspective taking. Emerging media technologies, such as virtual reality and 360° video, are noteworthy for their ability to enhance user sense of presence and to build empathy. Using cardboard virtual reality viewers, this qualitative study explored how immersive 360° videos are relevant to journalism students’ core (i.e., emotional) skill acquisition in a classroom on crisis and trauma coverage. In this pilot study on applied instructional design, twenty-three student journal entries were analyzed, supported by the Cognitive and Affective Model of Immersive Learning (CAMIL). Key emerging themes included emotional impact, sense of presence, appeal of immersive experiences, and novelty. Pedagogical recommendations are presented to educators, instructional designers, and other audiences interested in integrating usable, existing, and affordable immersive content in journalism education.
Exploring Sound Use in Embodied Interaction to Facilitate Learning in a Digital Environment
Sound has been intensively used to facilitate learning in education since the expansion of computer technology in the 1970s. Yet the primary focus of sound has been paid to using audio to replace text or to supplement graphics in multimedia instructions. Nonverbal sound, as one of the critical information sources in daily life, is largely overlooked in learning environments. This experimental study investigated how integrating nonverbal sound in embodied interaction affected learning in a digital environment. A language learning website was designed to host the interactive learning activity where nonverbal sound was used to guide learners’ actions during the character writing activity. A total of 140 undergraduate students participated in the experiment. The finding suggested that using nonverbal sound to facilitate embodied interactions led to a better interactive experience and higher intrinsic motivation.
Designing for Shifting Learning Activities
Existing approaches to instructional design each have a core focal unit of analysis; some focus on developing a specific tool, some focus on a sequence of tasks, and more recently, some approaches have focused more broadly on activities. However, we find that these don’t go far enough as real-world implementations require that learners move through a shifting sequence of activities with teachers attending to these shifts. We therefore propose and illustrate an approach to design grounded in focusing on how the design of activities, including tools, necessarily need to shift over time to support learning.
Playing With Your Emotions
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, online misinformation has proliferated, requiring innovative interventions to improve information literacy for the public. In this paper we report on an evaluation of an interactive narrative education intervention developed as part of a design-based research project into microlearning and COVID-19 misinformation. The intervention aimed to enable learners to (1) name the role that fear and anger play in the spread of misinformation, and (2) identify a strategy for interrupting the spread of misinformation driven by fear or anger. Using a pre- and post-test design, we surveyed 195 Canadian women to evaluate whether the intervention was effective at achieving its learning outcomes. Results indicate that the intervention was effective in improving understanding about emotionally-driven misinformation, the role of emotions in the circulation of misinformation, and self-efficacy with respect to this type of misinformation. Based on these results, we suggest that short interactive narratives may be useful in education efforts aimed to address online misinformation and that this technique may have wide appeal to educators seeking accessible web tools for teaching this type of content.