Production of Multimedia Learning Materials to support Online Learning
My specialist activity is the production of multimedia learning materials for use by students studying online or blended learning courses. The use of multimedia in online environments serves a number of different purposes:
- engaging learners through the use of audio, video and interactivity, addressing the needs of students with a variety of learning styles and making online learning an active experience
- helping learners develop deeper understanding of a subject by adding context to theoretical content and providing opportunities to interact with the learning materials and each other
The development of reusable multimedia learning materials is the main function of the department within which I work.
When I first joined the University of Wolverhampton in 2010 the Multimedia Unit was newly formed within the School of Health and Wellbeing. One of my first objectives was to promote the use of multimedia to support learning and teaching and to develop a portfolio of examples of high quality multimedia learning resources. I set up an informal topic in our VLE called the Multimedia Learning Development Sandbox, which has served as a showcase portfolio for the the MMU and also as a preview and testing area for materials in development. In 2011 the MMU received the Vice Chancellors Staff Excellence Award – Innovation of the Year for its contributions to multimedia learning development.
Some typical multimedia developments include:
- Video Production e.g. scenarios, interviews, skills demonstrations
- Audio Production e.g. podcasts
- Animation e.g. interactive diagrams, simulations
- E-Lectures e.g. presentations enriched with audio, video and animation for delivery online
- Interactive activities e.g. quizzes for formative assessment such as multiple choice, drag and drop or hot spot interactions
A particular project that utilised my specialist skills was my involvement in the development of a new module on research awareness that was delivered using a blended learning approach. I was invited to be part of the module team, which was particularly valuable for me as it gave me the opportunity to consider the use of multimedia as part of a strategic approach to the delivery of a module. Previously my skills had mainly been utilised for one-off developments to enhance individual learning activities within existing modules. The lessons learned during the development of this module have helped to inform the best practice recommendations for blended and online modules within SHaW. Subsequently, as a result of this experience I have been able to disseminate these recommendations to the module teams involved in developing other new online and blended learning modules and courses within the school. For more details on my involvement in the module development, click here to read my case study.