Adding variation in both the design of a course and delivery of content is easily achieved by using forms of multimedia throughout. It will enhance the learning journey and ensure users are more engaged overall. Not only does it help retain learning, but it keeps them motivated too.
While it is not ultimately a better way to learn, there are advantages to classroom or face-to-face learning methods that many eLearning courses struggle to match (why use eLearning? Read why here). Video plays an important role in mirroring these benefits and is a good place to start when thinking about how to teach more complex topics or specific problems. If you think about the different ways that people learn, video content relates to many of the different methods.
Visual learners obviously benefit from video, but when it is supplemented with voiceovers and other sound it can work for auditory learners too. If you use video to play out a particular scenario or to help describe a complex process in action, it will also grab the attention of kinaesthetic learners. Regardless of who is watching, we know that people in general are drawn to video. 80% of internet content consumed in 2019 is estimated to be video, and it is widely utilised by digital marketers to draw in customers. It is an effective engagement tool from all angles.
Sometimes having a teacher to guide the learner through the course can be beneficial to motivation. This is why you’ll find that many courses will include the creator or a subject matter expert to deliver content, which ties back in to the use of filming. But what if that isn’t right for your course? You can add that human interaction aspect through social learning. This essentially includes any method that gets learners working together or that encourages collaboration. It’s a different way to think about multimedia; it’s not just about graphics and design, but user activity.
Social learning doesn’t need to be structured. Users could communicate through group chats or forums where they can assist each other and share knowledge. This is particularly useful where large projects are involved or if the course covers a variety of topics. If your learner group is a pool of employees, this can help communicate people’s personal experiences or backgrounds and be beneficial to the overall skillset of the group. If you want to structure a social element into the course, you can add interactive polls or comment and feedback boxes that are visible to all users.
The multimedia formats you use to build a course will vary and be dependent on the learner group. eLearning may well just be an extension of a more physical learning environment such as at university, offering a blended learning style. It is common in higher education to record lectures and turn them into eLearning content, giving students unlimited access. This is also true for corporate seminars or workshops, where the course can be turned into a digital format for others to use.
Your course could be as simple as a series of lecture videos with complimentary presentation slides or notes. It could be more complex, even using virtual reality or games to deliver content. Whatever you do, some form of multimedia is better than none. It can speed up learning or be used to summarise and wrap up the end of a module. While it adds another dimension to the content, what’s really important is how it encourages the learning itself.