Benefits of Using Multimedia in Education

"multimedia can stimulate more than one sense at a time, and in doing so, may be more attention-getting and attention-holding." http://www.athensacademy.org/instruct/media_tech/reeves0.html

"There is substantial research supporting the effectiveness of information technology-assisted project-based learning (IT-assisted PBL). When IT-assisted PBL is used in a constructivist, cooperative learning environment, students learn more and retain their knowledge better. Moreover, students learn the content area being studied, how to design and carry out a project, and uses of IT."
http://www.iste.org/research/reports/tlcu/multimedia.cfm

Educational Benefits of Multimedia tools 
(from an Educator's Perspective) :

 

Educational Benefits of Multimedia tools 
(from the Student's Perspective)
:

Giving students an opportunity to produce documents of their own provides several educational advantages.

There is another aspect to developing multimedia documents that empowers students. Students quickly recognize that their electronic documents can be easily shared. Because of this, students place a greater value on producing a product that is of high standard. An audience of one–the teacher–is less demanding than an audience of many–particularly one’s peers. Students quickly recognize that publishing a multimedia document that communicates effectively requires attention to both the content and the design of the document. http://www.iste.org/research/reports/tlcu/multimedia.cfm

 

Studies to Support Multimedia use in Education:

R. Lehrer -
Studies support distinctive differences in ways students retain information gathered and applied using multimedia versus traditional modes of instruction.  In a study conducted with eighth graders, R. Lehrer, found that students who learned about the civil war using multimedia had made long lasting connections with the materials while students who learned traditionally had little to no retention of the material on year later.  It was also noted that the level of student engagement was significantly higher amongst students with both high and low abilities.
(
http://www.tech4learning.com/mediablender/study.html)

Okolo and Ferretti (1998) - 
Showed that student composition representing ideas simultaneously through text and audio, video and sound  increased the likelihood that students will acquire an understanding of complex information. It is a reasonable conjecture that using an even wider range of media will extend this effect. The same study also noted that students with a wide range of abilities "readily mastered these tools and were highly motivated by the opportunity to augment their writing with other media."  That is, this increased variety of expression enhanced attitudes as well. (http://www.ceap.wcu.edu/houghton/MM/RationaleMM.html)

Beichner (1994) -
 A primarily qualitative, observational investigation was conducted over a two-year period while the students worked cooperatively to create interactive displays for a touch-sensitive multimedia kiosk for the zoo.

Several categories emerged out of the qualitative analysis of the data which included extensive videotapes, interviews, observations, and student-created materials. The students' strong appreciation that they were preparing multimedia materials for a real audience emerged as the core category in the analysis. Related findings were:
1) students demonstrated great concern for accuracy in their displays,
2) students quickly assumed the major responsibility for content and editing decisions despite the fact that the original task of designing the displays had been structured for them by the teacher,
3) students accessed wide ranges of science materials and sources to find the content they desired, and
4) their commitment to and enthusiasm for the project remained very high.

On the negative side, the project failed to integrate its activities into the larger curriculum in the school or to attract the participation of teachers other than the computer coordinator. The bottom line was that by establishing an environment where creative thinking about content is combined with real-world assignments, students learned the content, enjoyed the learning process, and recognized that they had created something worthwhile. http://www.athensacademy.org/instruct/media_tech/reeves0.html

Summary:
The studies reviewed support the conclusion that designing multimedia is a complex process that engages many skills in learners. Carver, Lehrer, Connell, and Ericksen (1992) list some of the major thinking skills that learners learn and use as multimedia designers:

Project Management Skills

Research Skills

Organization and Representation Skills

Presentation Skills

Reflection Skills

Additional resource: Multimedia in Education, http://scs.une.edu.au/Materials/573/573Menu