Engaging, including and activating: multimedia learning scholarship for the visual revolution







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Strand Student retention
Type Campfire
Learning Objective(s) By the end of the session, participants will: be up to date with leading scholarship on multimedia learning and its predictions regarding pedagogic impact on student engagement and active learning; have been exposed to multimedia methods in operation; will be engaged with data from a new, inclusive longitudinal control group trial evaluating impact on both neurostandard and neurodiverse (dyslexic) students; critically evaluate a future for research in this area.
We live in the most visual era of human evolution; our students have never been so influenced by images. Yet visuals play only a limited, and under-theorised role in HE lectures. MML scholarship, most notedly by Richard Mayer (2014), argues that humans are dual processors of information, possessed of both audio-textual, and visual, processing abilities. This literature maintains that orthodox lectures dominated by text alone overload the first whilst leaving the second untapped, causing cognitive overload and disengagement. This scholarship predicts that if lectures are constituted of a combination of text and imagery, engagement with academic content will increase. It predicts such results across disciplines, since the matter is about cognition, not content.This session introduces the fruits of a 3-year trial of MML methods and addresses the impact on

  1. student engagement with academic content
  2. active learning
  3. neurodiverse (dyslexic) students

The ongoing longitudinal control group experiment tests for the presence of scholastically-defined engagement across disciplines and showed a marked increase of between 40% and 80% in engagement on the part of those exposed to images and text, than for those exposed to text alone. It also tested for the presence of scholastically-defined characteristics of AL (Prince 2004; Winterbottom 2016) and found similar marked improvements. Testing of dyslexic student reactions to MML methods yielded more amplified results in both engagement and AL settings. The first element of this workshop uses the visual approach to communicate MML methods and the results of the experiments.

The second element is aimed at conversation perpetuation. It proposes the following questions:

  1. Can the online/research method be developed and disseminated?
  2. How can we test for impact across disciplines?
  3. Can we evolve a nascent Community of Practice on this subject?
  4. Can this method be credible whilst textual orthodoxy is hegemonic?
References Biggs J. and Tang C. (2007) 3rd ed.Teaching for quality learning at university: What the student does. New York, McGraw-Hill.Garrison D. and Cleveland-Innes M. (2005). Facilitating cognitive presence in online learning: Interaction is not enough. The American Journal of Distance Education, 19(3), 133–148.Watson F. Bishop M and Ferdinand -James D. (2017) Instructional strategies to help online students learn Tech Trends 61, 420-427