Do you want to learn a new language, study for an upcoming exam, or even hone soft skills? How can we achieve this on our own time? Where do we turn to in the need for information?

Online education, commonly referred to as “eLearning”, has increased immensely over the years. From recreational language learning to university courses to professional development and soft-skill training, education is more attainable and available at our own fingertips. In an era of accessible information, more and more individuals are turning to mobile learning, online programs, and “how-to” videos in achieving personal and professional goals.

Yet, how do these programs work in retaining learner attention? 

As a glorious tool of versatility and ease, eLearning can also face struggles of engaging learners due to underdevelopment in delivering content. Simply identifying and accommodating visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles is not enough. Learning should be about maximizing on the effort, abilities, and multiple learning intelligence, the specific cognitive strengths and deficiencies (Meade, 2020), of the student by delivering content which is designed and developed in a method that is compelling and dynamic. With multitudes of addictive features in social media, eLearning should strive to achieve the same level of engagement.

How can eLearning courses be as exciting as social media?

Using the knowledge that humans typically only retain 20% of what they read (Long, 2014), eLearning developers look to raise the retention rate to 100% using multimedia. Users between the ages of 18 and 24 are much more likely to forward or share a crazy cat video than quoted text (Inspiration, 2018) and by utilizing photos, videos, and even animations provides promise for higher learning retention and return of investment for employers. 

By delivering information in the form of info-graphics, photos, videos, and, yes, even with a GIF, learners’ will pay closer attention to content, study harder, and perform higher than learners who are engaged by only text.

Who develops multimedia content?

Multimedia designers and developers, also known as MMDs, are essential in such eLearning course development. Uniquely diverse and creative, MMDs must be highly technical with skills varying from graphic design, to video and audio production, to web application and interactive interface design and development. With these skills, a multimedia design team can create incredibly engaging and exciting content for the eLearning world.

In some organizations, multimedia designers work directly with a subject matter or content expert to design course objectives, lessons, and activities that effectively support the objectives. In other organizations, MMDs collaborate with Instructional Designers, between the SME and the multimedia production team. In the development and ending vision of eLearning courses, MMDs are the executors.

With MMD’s executing the final product of eLearning courses, 90% of information reception is visual (Long, 2014). Examples of this could be micro-learning objects such as videos, info-graphics and charts, or web-based interactive activities that reveal small bites of information through clickable objects or areas, like buttons or tabs. 

Multimedia designers can also create full user interactive interfaces in the form of custom websites, content built out in a Learning Management System such as Canvas or Blackboard, or self-contained interactive projects created with Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate. 

MMD’s are integral to the development of eLearning courses as they assist in the engagement and excitement. By providing summative quizzes, surveys, questionnaires or pre-assessments to re-capture learning objectives is also important. With the use of quizzes, surveys, and assessments, learners are able to remember the purpose of the course and end with a higher retention rate.It can be useful, and even directive, knowing how a learner is faring as they progress through the course as well.

Providing a structured, dynamic and effective learning experience is the goal for educational programs, a task not accomplished with text alone. Using images, videos and interactive content to present information in small digestible chunks can improve upon the learner’s experience, boost enthusiasm, encourage participation, and achieve higher content retention. 

So, is your team ready to elicit the help of Multimedia designers? 

For more information on how our Multimedia Designer team can assist in developing engaging courses or to explore more ways of achieving higher content retention, contact us here.

References

Inspiration. (2018, March 21st). Visuals vs. Text: Which Content Format Is Better, and Why? Retrieved from Pixelo: https://www.pixelo.net/visuals-vs-text-content-format-better/

Long, K. (2014, April 11th). Infographic: Why visual content is better than text. Retrieved from Ragan: https://www.ragan.com/infographic-why-visual-content-is-better-than-text/

Meade, S. (2020, January 4th). The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Retrieved from Whitby: https://www.whitbyschool.org/passionforlearning/auditory-visual-and-kinesthetic-helping-children-succeed-through-different-learning-styles