Integrating Multimedia Components into Online Learning Environments: Transforming the Learners’ Interaction with Knowledge and Contextual Understanding Through Perceived and Real Interactive Activities
Online learning environments and hybrid learning environments have become areas of significant interest over the previous ten year period. The shift from the traditional face-to-face learning environments towards a more holistic philosophy towards cognition and instruction has further enhanced the instructional focus upon opportunities towards designing interactive activities within online learning environments, so as to ensure the communicative needs of the learner are met. During the beginning years of online instruction, novice instructional designers focused upon the disbursal of knowledge through primarily textual venues; however, this textual interface has shifted towards a more fully enhanced and focused online or hybrid learning environment which focuses each unit of instruction upon the instructor-designed interactive elements, as well as the learner-centered philosophy that drives the units of instruction. As the ubiquitous and elegant integration of technologies within the learning environment comes of age, the underlying instructional philosophies of the instructional designers and instructors take center stage, due to the import placed upon learner’s conceptual framework of understanding as regards the knowledge, the import of the interactive activities and materials made available to support the learner’s understanding and evolving comprehension of the information that builds upon the theoretical underpinnings of higher order thinking skills. The introduction of podcasts, video, digital storytelling and instructional gaming multimedia components into the online and hybrid learning environments are of primary interest, as the ease of perceived and real interactive activities development has continuously become less complicated and pretentious.
Keywords: Distance Learning, Web-based Learning, Web-enhanced Learning, Podcasts, Learncasts, Video, Digital Storytelling, Instructional Gaming, Cognitive Load, Higher Order Thinking Skills, Communication, Interactive Activities
Dr. Caroline M. Crawford
Associate Professor of Instructional Technology, School of Education, University of Houston-Clear Lake