“Multimedia is characterized by the presence of text, pictures, sound, animation and video; some or all of which are organized into some coherent program” (Phillips, 1997).
While there is no doubt that the interest in technology education is rising, the fast progression in the past years has been impressive. Investments as well as the school spendings are on the rise.
One might wonder why. This is the reason why we are going to explore five of the benefits multimedia learning brings to the 21st century classroom, which could be contributing to the recent edtech boom.
The benefits of multimedia learning:
1. Deeper understanding
According to research, a benefit of multimedia learning is that it takes advantage of the brain's ability to make connections between verbal and visual representations of content, leading to a deeper understanding, which in turn supports the transfer of learning to other situations. All of this is important in today’s 21st century classrooms, as we are preparing students for a future where higher-level thinking, problem solving and collaborative skills will be required.
2. Improved problem solving
A large percentage of the human brain dedicates itself to visual processing. Thus, using images, video and animations alongside a text stimulates the brain. Student attention and retention increase. Under these circumstances, in a multimedia learning environment, students can identify and solve problems more easily compared to the scenario where teaching is made possible only by textbooks.
3. Increased positive emotions
According to psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, experiencing positive emotions makes people see more possibilities in their lives. Using multimedia during instructions impacts student's mood during the learning process. With a positive attitude they learn better and tend to be more proactive.
4. Access to a vast variety of information
With computers, tablets, smartphones and the internet, students are today better equipped than ever to search and find the information they need. A study revealed that 95% of students who have access to internet, use it to search for online information. Sharing the information and participating in class discussions is done in a more confident way when access to information is as easy as today.
5. World exploration
There is no surprise here. With the help of multimedia children can explore and learn about places they would never been to. In a geography class, students can explore different cities of the world, the tallest mountains and the most dangerous jungles. In a science class, space and planets exploration is now possible. In a biology class, the dissection of rare animals and different habitats exploration are like a walk in a park for students benefiting of a multimedia learning environment.
All together, multimedia learning environments have a direct effect on learning and even on growing as a person. An effect that differs and can’t be achieved as easy whilst using traditional education materials. Therefore, it is no wonder the edtech business is increasing and schools desire more and more to create multimedia learning environments for their students.
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