Key Factors and New Directions of Multimedia Learning Design

Key Factors and New Directions of Multimedia Learning Design

Haido Samaras, Thanasis Giouvanakis, Despina Bousiou, Konstantinos Tarabanis
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-940-3.ch011
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This chapter explores specific topics, issues and directions associated with multimedia and hypermedia learning environments. A key aim is to inform researchers, designers, and developers of multimedia learning systems as well as educators who wish to engage students in learning activities rooted in multimedia learning research and design of the critical factors that have had an impact on maximizing learning through multimedia. Strengths and pitfalls of multimedia learning design are discussed through the review of the important conclusions that two generations of multimedia research have contributed to multimedia design. Finally, emerging factors, which are currently formulating a third generation of multimedia design and learning research are presented.
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As has been the case in the past with every innovative form of educational technology, such as motion pictures, radio, educational television and computers (Cuban, 1986), the emergence of multimedia educational technology has been accompanied by contradictory views and attitudes. On the one hand there have been high hopes in support of multimedia, which have been based on a range of claims, such as that multimedia systems have the ability to cut down the time of learning while at the same time they increase learning effectiveness. On the other hand, contrary positions have maintained a state of skepticism and disbelief regarding the use of multimedia in education.

Multimedia learning research and in general educational technology research has been characterized by inconsistency until now, failing to draw explicit conclusions with relation to the impact that multimedia and technology have on the learning process or to provide a comprehensive framework of design principles at the micro-level for the optimal integration of multimedia elements within a multimedia learning system (Koumi, 2003). Over three decades of research have not managed to resolve the problem satisfactorily. The literature does not lack studies with statistically significant results in favor of multimedia use from which a collection of factors that influence effective multimedia design may be drawn (Najjar, 1998, 2001). However, at the same time it includes a large body of studies that do not provide strong evidence to warrant for the use of multimedia as an effective alternative to learning (Hede, 2002).

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