Around the world many communities have been constantly struggling to maintain their customs, traditions and language. Many communities have been on the move from place to place due to various factors of social change, such as war, search of food, land, and climatic calamities. Such forces have given rise to different cultures and languages through fusion or the creation of new cultures. The cultures not only exist within nationalities and ethnic groups, but also within communities, organizations and other systems. A language is an integral component of cultural identification (Rogers & Steinfatt, 1999). Matsumoto (1996, p. 16) defined culture as, “the set of attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviours shared by a group of people, but different for each individual, communicated from one generation to the next.” A culture is dynamic in nature; if static, it will cease or lose its identity in due course of time. Cultural values are affected and reinforced by languages. A language is a representation of a different way of thinking as well as a different way of speaking. Languages have significant influence on the cognition (Gudykunst & Asante, 1989; Pincas, 2001).
Recent advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs) have resulted in the integration of the basic multimedia technology with the personal computer. Thus now it is possible to offer pedagogically useful services through this interactive medium (Peters, 2003). In its simplest form multimedia can be defined as, “an integration of multiple media elements (audio, video, graphics, text, animation etc.) into one synergetic and symbiotic whole that results in more benefits for the end user than any one of the media elements can provide individually” (Reddi, 2003, p. 3). One of the basic advantages of multimedia tools lies in presenting learning materials in multiple (i.e. audio, visual and textual) formats. Jacobson and Spiro (1995) argued that complex information is learned more effectively if the learning experiences are presented in multimedia formats. Learners’ interests and motivations can be increased by the integration of rich and dynamic multimedia into the learning experiences (Smith & Jones, 1989). Student learning can also be effectively increased by combining multi-modal dynamic simulations with audio, when the audio media is an integral part of information to be learned (Moreno & Mayer, 2000). Hoyer (1999) experienced effective teaching, research, counseling and learner support when interactive multimedia modules are integrated with services such as teleconferencing.
Multimedia has many uses in education as an instructional tool and as a product development tool. The booster factor to the development of multimedia technologies has been its pedagogical implications and effects on teaching and learning practices. Incorporating multimedia elements supports a paradigm shift in the pedagogy. The traditional teacher-centered or technology-centered approach of multimedia instruction has been supplanted by the constructivist learner-centered approach (Relan & Gillani, 1997; LeFoe, 1998; Richards & Nason, 1999; Tearle, Dillon & Davis, 1999; Abbey, 2000). Multimedia applications have created new opportunities for instructional designers to present instruction through dynamic integration of words, static and dynamic graphics and verbal information. Multimedia technologies have been found to be useful in enhancing learning and learner satisfaction, and increasing the visibility and appeal of existing programs. These technologies also support portability, modularity, visualization, efficiency in instructional design, and learning consistency (Oberlin, 1996; Hede, 2002; Yildirim, Ozden, & Aksu, 2001).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Multimedia: Integration of several media, such as text, audio, video, animation, etc.
Language: A means of verbal and non-verbal communication of thoughts and ways of speaking.
Culture: The ideals, values, symbols and behaviors of human societies that create a distinctive identification.