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Quick Study

Does multimedia make a difference? Do people learn more or learn faster with color animations? Flashing lights and flashy shirts probably do serve a purpose. At least audiences are more likely to stay awake, which is important, since sleep learning doesn't work. Visible and audible punctuation can help people remember things, but it only works if it is closely, even intrinsically, tied to what it is people are supposed to remember. I remember vividly a spectacular video morph from a lecture over a year ago, but I have no idea what the presenter was talking about. I did like the way the car turned into a hundred-dollar bill, though.

It takes more than bells and whistles to facilitate learning. If there is anything real to be gained from multimedia, multisensory communication, it must come from the careful, calculated, and appropriate use of each medium. Back in the heyday of the structural revolution, I worked with a company making multimedia training packages for software development topics. Print, audio, and video media reinforced and complemented each other because each element in the training was presented in the particular form that conveyed the concepts or skills most effectively.


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