Designing Blended Learning Strategies for Rich Content

Designing Blended Learning Strategies for Rich Content

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0877-9.ch017
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Today, an immense amount of photorealistic and high quality medical information circulates over the Internet, whether copyright protected and distributed under license from learning portals or simply freely available. Certified textual data along with audiovisual material that has been gathered from medical professional practices may be used for the production of learning objects for multimedia learning. The use of Content Management Systems (CMS) and Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) allow a vast array of images, videos, animations and sounds to be offered through e-Learning. In many professions, e-Learning is the norm. Accordingly, in medicine there is a tendency to blend in the first years of study more and more online material that leads to extensive multimedia learning. However, not all clinical courses within hospitals and examinations can be replaced by media rich content.
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This chapter aims to analyze the new environment that is being shaped in education management systems (van Dam, 2004). It predominantly relies on learning management systems (LMSs) that deploy modules of rich content. Having already plunged into a world that is nearly irreversibly and ubiquitously online, momentum continues with the dynamic appearance of three key characteristics, which readily promote an idealistic status quo for e-Learning:

  • 1.

    The Social Meaning - What Motivates People to Engage in e-Learning: MOOCs seem to endorse not only a culture of massive, unbounded training, but they also promote the pedagogical significance of mobile communication and learning as a vehicle evangelizing changes toward student-centered instruction. Indeed, learning is facilitated by portable instrumentation and this results in increased student interest, confidence and participation. By their very nature, massive participation easily exceeds in numbers the next closest contender (Meixler, 2013).

  • 2.

    The Economic Meaning - the Marketing Approach: There is now an unprecedented ease in handling high-definition material, in terms of image or sound quality, along with vivid animations of inner core information (Politis, Tsalighopoul, & Kyriafinis, 2015). This allows for rich content development within a cost-effective environment. It is amazing that many auxiliary educational services such as are able to deliver more high quality copyrighted resources than classic education seems to consider (Boynton, 2004; van Dam, 2004). In short, rich content enhances the business impact of e-Learning.

  • 3.

    The Educational Meaning - Media and Tools that Enhance Learner Perspectives: An increasingly larger array of digital services reshapes the way in which a remote user senses that he/she is the focal point of their university. In some cases, remote learners indulge in services that the regular student enjoys at a far greater cost; even further, remote learners may be eligible to access content that classic universities may have difficulties in making accessible to all of their students. It is clear for conventional education, with what ever designation we may append to its long established practices, that it should promote the hubs of a knowledge society (Jennex & Olfman, 2006) along with the pedagogical exploitation of mobile devices, that promote dynamic training and instructive processes (Sclater, 2010).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Learning Object: Learning Object is any entity, digital or non-digital, that can be used, re-used or referenced during technology-supported learning. Examples of learning objects include multimedia content, instructional content, instructional software and software tools that are referenced during technology-supported learning. Examples of smaller reusable digital resources include digital pictures or photographs, animation and video clips, small pieces of text, animations and smaller applications available via Web, as for instance is a calculator developed in Java. Examples of bigger reusable digital resources include entire web pages that combine text, pictures and other means, or applications that offer a complete educational experience

ECTS: Acronym for European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). Since 1989 it has become a standard for comparing the study attainment and performance of students in tertiary education across the EU and other collaborating European countries. A full-time student needs to complete 60 ECTS per academic year, which represents about 1,500 to 1,800 hours of study. The use of the ECTS by institutions is not compulsory. According to the ECTS, study programs in Europe are worth the following number of credits: Bachelor's degrees (first cycle) are worth 180 - 240 ECTS (3 to 4 years), Master's programs (second cycle) are worth 60 - 120 ECTS (1 to 2 years), PhD studies (third cycle) have no ECTS range

Mobile Communication and Learning: The term engulfs mobile learning, i.e. learning transcended via mobile devices and interfaces, mobile business, mobile government, mobile society networks and applications along with the emergence of mobile communication technologies, services, implementation and implications for education, business, governments and society. The development of Mobile Learning provides a handy platform for education and knowledge transfer, exposing students to the latest ICT technologies; simultaneously it encourages the study and implementation of mobile applications in teaching and learning. Within his context, instructors have the opportunity to develop new skills and to stimulate critical debate on theories, approaches, principles and applications of m-learning, hence facilitating dialogue, sharing and networking between diverse cultures with regard to the optimal use of emerging technologies.

Multimedia Design: Technological development has multiplied and diversified the vectors for creation, production and exploitation for texts, images, sounds and videos. High quality compound productions of such elements, distributed via the Internet, in various formats, become focal points for increasingly high interaction from the Learning Community. The design of such products is promoting multimedia learning.

Informal, Non-Formal and Non-Typical Learning: Informal education is any kind of knowledge acquisition acquired outside established Academic environments. It may come out of community organizations, workforce training schemes, or self-study initiatives. Non formal education engages more structured sub-systems of the educational system that provide even some sort of certified and accredited knowledge, like life-long training, MOOC participation etc. Both informal and non-formal education usually does not lead to a degree or diploma, although certificates may be issued. When such kind of education is performed as part of an extension program that raises attractiveness and innovativeness of education in tertiary education, usually involving cross-border scientific research, then non-typical education emerges. In this later case a diploma is conferred.

Rich Content: Videos along with texts, sounds, animations and videos have emerged as a dominant media for educational purposes in many Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platforms. Rich content relies on high quality visual components offered via online learning platforms. They are particularly interesting for students who are visual learners and who learn best by watching the short format engaging videos rather than by just reading or listening to course materials. The paper focuses on the categorization of factors that are responsible for the success/popularity of online learning videos.

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