Interactive Multimedia:Design Issues and Research James D. Lehman Educational Technology Purdue University
Interactive Multimedia:Design Issues and Research Comparison Research Multimedia/Hypermedia Purdue Studies The Future
Comparison research • Over the past three decades, much of the literature in educational technology has concerned itself with the effectiveness of computers or other media in comparison with "traditional" methods. • So-called media comparison research is intended to address the need of decision makers to know whether new media justify their expense.
Comparison research • This research is epitomized by the studies of James Kulik et al. at Michigan. Kulik conducted a number of meta-analyses comparing the effects of various media to “traditional” instruction. These have included several analyses of computer studies.
Comparison research • Kulik's meta-analyses (and others) have consistently shown an effect size on performance of about 1/3 of a standard deviation for computer-based instruction compared to traditional methods. • Time savings and improved attitudes have often been reported.
Comparison research • Meta-analyses have also been conducted on multimedia, such as interactive video. Two meta-analyses, by Fletcher and by McNeil & Nelson, showed effect sizes in the range of .50 for interactive video. • These analyses suggest that interactive multimedia may be somewhat more effective than regular computer-based instruction.
Comparison research • Research summaries have also looked at the effects of hypermedia – interactive multimedia that is characterized by nodes of linked information. These too suggest positive outcomes. • We are now beginning to see comparisons of Internet based instruction with traditional methods. Olson & Wisher found an effect size of 0.24 for web-based instruction.
Comparison research • While seemingly supportive of technology integration, are comparison studies really the right approach?
Comparison research • Comparison studies have come under considerable criticism. For example, James Clark of USC has criticized Kulik's computer analyses. • Clark has cited several apparent problems in the findings, including: reduced effect with the same instructor, reduced effect in longer studies, and reduced effect in published studies. These cast doubt on the validity of a "computer effect."
Comparison research • Clark also has a more fundamental dispute with media comparison studies. Clark suggests that media comparison studies by nature are invalid. • Clark says media merely deliver an instructional message. He argues that the medium has no more to do with instructional effectiveness than the delivery truck has to do with the nutritional value of the groceries it carries.
Comparison research • Clark says, "Media are delivery vehicles for instruction and do not directly influence learning." As a result, he has called for a moratorium on further media studies. • However, Clark does concede that "certain elements of different media... might serve as sufficient conditions to facilitate the learning of students who lack the skill being modeled."
Comparison research • Clark and his allies argue that media, including computers, should not be compared. However, Clark concedes that some research about media may have merit including: attitudes/perceptions of media and (perhaps) attributes of particular media. • Many agree with Clark's criticism of blanket comparison research. However, many also take issue with his view of media.
Comparison research • Robert Kozma of Stanford’s Research Institute has been a prominent opponent of Clark's position on media. • Kozma argues that Clark's view of learning is too simplistic; a medium, he contends, is more than a delivery vehicle. Knowledge?
Comparison research • In Kozma's view, the learner actively collaborates with a particular medium to construct knowledge. Therefore, media (which can be defined by technology, symbol systems, and processing capabilities) cannot effectively be separated from methods. • As a result, he argues, there is an influence on learning that we cannot ignore.
Comparison research • In Kozma’s view, what is important is the interaction of media attributes with learner characteristics. • Learners make use of the stability of textual material to construct understanding. • Graphics can act as organizing agents. • Video is good at depicting dynamic events and realism. • Interactive multimedia has the capability to call on all of these media as needed.
Comparison research • Kozma and his allies suggest that media do influence learning through the interplay of learner and medium. They feel that media studies should focus on issues related to this interplay of learner and medium. • Interactive multimedia is a particularly ripe area for exploration because of its richness and its use of multiple media. Menu
Multimedia/Hypermedia • Today, the term multimedia connotes a situation in which multiple media – text, graphics, audio, and video – are integrated into a single delivery system under computer control. • Hypermedia refers to a multimedia system in which information is stored as interlinked nodes. While once a backwater of computer science, hypermedia is now front and center due to the World Wide Web.
Multimedia/Hypermedia • Interactive videodisc technology was one of the first multimedia technologies. It emerged in the 1970s with the help of the National Science Foundation. • Explorations of multimedia began with interactive videodisc technology used as an instructional tool, especially in science, and research into its effectiveness and use.
Multimedia/Hypermedia • Design issues related to interactive video include questions such as: • effects of interactivity, e.g., use of embedded questions and feedback • efficiency of learning • learner control vs program control • speed of access • attitudes and perceptions • appropriateness of the medium
Multimedia/Hypermedia • Hypermedia is multimedia that uses a linked node information structure. • Vannevar Bush, Truman’s science advisor, envisioned this approach when he proposed a machine that he called Memex that could work by associations like the human intellect. • Bush’s ideas were instantiated by pioneers Doug Englebart and Ted Nelson, who developed early hypertext systems.
Multimedia/Hypermedia • While some hypermedia is overtly instructional, most is designed for user exploration of an information environment. The Web is a prime example today. • Hypermedia information environments perhaps better reflect today’s constructivist perspective on learning – they give the user the opportunity to learn but may not provide much support or assistance.
Multimedia/Hypermedia • Research and design issues in hypermedia include: • user disorientation / navigation • cognitive overload • user commitment • nature of incidental learning • individual learner differences • dual coding of information • appropriateness of the medium
Multimedia/Hypermedia • While many of these design issues arose in the context of stand-alone computer-based media, they are just as relevant, if not more relevant, when considering the World Wide Web today. • Research focused on hypermedia environments has direct relevance to the World Wide Web. Menu
Purdue Studies • Over the past two decades, a number of Purdue dissertation studies have explored some of the research/design questions associated with the design of interactive multimedia and hypermedia. What follows is a brief overview of some of those investigations.
Purdue Studies - Hytner • Gail Hytner, Ph.D., 1987 • A long-time issue in computer-based instruction is learner control vs program control. One of the most commonly cited advantages of computers, and today of hypermedia environments, is the user's ability to control his or her own learning. Is learner control advantageous?
Purdue Studies - Hytner • This study examined the effects of learner control (computer control, user control, or user control with guidance) on performance and attitudes of students using a computer-based interactive video program. • Control, in this study, consisted of the sequencing, pacing, and use of remediation in an overtly instructional program.
Purdue Studies - Hytner • Hytner's study failed to detect significant differences, other than a time-on-task difference (computer control with forced review took longest), due to the instructional treatment. In this case, the instruction was apparently so well constructed that a ceiling effect obscured any effect of the treatment in this study.
Purdue Studies - Hytner • Hytner's study demonstrated that the effects due to manipulation of learner control variables in an instructional program can be of little consequence when the instruction itself is very well designed. • However, other researchers have found effects associated with learner control. In many previous studies, learner control has actually been found to inhibit performance.
Purdue Studies - Hytner • Why is this so? The fundamental reason seems to be that students are often poor judges of their own learning. Learner control can be a problem when learners must be self-regulated. • Most of today's hypermedia environments (e.g., the Web) are far less structured, and rarely overtly instructional, in comparison with Hytner's program. In these cases, poor self-regulation can be a big problem.
Purdue Studies - Smith • Eric Smith, Ph.D., 1988 • The information density of interactive multimedia, and its pacing, were the factors underlying this study. Interactive multimedia is often very information dense. Can control of program pacing contribute to helping students "catch their cognitive breath" in interactive multimedia?
Purdue Studies - Smith • Smith's study examined the effects of embedded pauses in an interactive video program on the topic of DNA and protein synthesis. Two factors: pause duration (0, 20, and 40 sec) and pause location (after objectives, after content, or after summary review) were examined for their impact on student performance.
Purdue Studies - Smith • The study found that 40 sec pauses following content presentation were the most effective in promoting achievement as measured by an immediate recall test. In other words, students benefited from having forced pauses placed in a highly information dense program after the presentation of the content itself (although, incidentally, the students did not much care for those pauses).
Purdue Studies - Smith • The results of Smith's study imply that learners benefit from the opportunity to reflect in an interactive multimedia environment. This may be a function of cognitive processing time, or it may be due to stimulation of self-regulation functions. • From a practical standpoint, Smith's study also suggests that slow information retrieval, as from interactive videotape or the Web today, may not necessarily be bad.
Purdue Studies - Lee • Ben Lee, Ph.D., 1989 • Hypermedia environments tend to put a burden on the learner. The information is designed to be explored. Of course, this assumes that the learner will actively explore and seek out information. Is this assumption warranted? If not, are there ways to assist the learner?
Purdue Studies - Lee • Lee's study examined two factors: learning style (active, passive, or neutral) and instructional strategy (with or without cues to prompt the learner to seek embedded information) and their effects on student performance in a hypermedia program on the topic of DNA and protein synthesis.
Purdue Studies - Lee • This figure summarizes the key results. Statisticallyno different
Purdue Studies - Lee • Active learners performed well in the hypermedia environment. They sought out embedded information, spent time browsing, and as a result performed well. They did not need but were not hampered by cues that prompted them to seek out information.
Purdue Studies - Lee • More passive learners, on the other hand, did not perform as well without assistance. They failed to seek out embedded information, and that resulted in poorer performance. • However, when cues to seek out embedded information were given, more passive learners came up to a level of performance comparable to active learners.
Purdue Studies - Lee • Lee's study suggests that hypermedia programs intended for instruction should include cues to prompt those students who are not naturally active learners to seek out available information. • It also implies that it is possible, through some types of interventions in programs, to assist students in becoming more active learners in hypermedia environments.
Purdue Studies - Lin • Xiao-Dong Lin, Ph.D., 1993 • Most of the effort in the design of hypermedia environments to date has focused on external supports for learners. Research suggests that this approach is only partially effective. Is it possible to design a hypermedia environment that promotes self-regulation in learners to enhance learning?
Purdue Studies - Lin • Lin's study investigated the embedding of cues designed to promote self-regulation in a hypermedia-based simulation of a biology lab experiment of the behavior of organisms. • It examined whether metacognitive cues embedded in a hypermedia program can facilitate students' problem-solving and the transfer of problem-solving skills.
Purdue Studies - Lin • The results of Lin's study showed that students who received metacognitive cues performed significantly better than those who received cognitive, affective, or no cues on a test of problem-solving designed to demonstrate transfer of skills learned in the simulated laboratory.
Purdue Studies - Lin • Students in the metacognitive cue group focused on the process of problem-solving rather than on problem features or their feelings. This focus on the problem-solving process translated into a greater depth of understanding, improved immediate performance, and the ability to transfer problem-solving skills to a problem with an entirely different surface context.
Purdue Studies - Lin • This research suggests that self-regulation is particularly powerful in promoting students' learning. • It also suggests that it is possible to embed features within hypermedia to help learners regulate their own learning processes. This has significant implications for the design of hypermedia environments.
Purdue Studies - Lin • Lin's dissertation received widespread recognition. It received the Outstanding dissertation award from the School of Education, from the national Association for Educational Communications and Technology, and from Division C of the American Educational Research Association.
Purdue Studies - Lin • Ella Lin, Ph.D., 1995 • This study also examined the issue of self-regulation via hypermedia by looking at the effects of prompting students to self-elaborate and the effects of embedded strategic cues designed to help ESL students focus on their own understanding.
Purdue Studies - Lin • Subjects studied hypermedia based materials to learn English. • Those in the self-elaboration condition had to generate their own summaries of the content. • A comparison condition presented students with computer-generated summaries of the same content.