User Experience in Education based Multimedia

Technology plays a prominent role in the delivery of education. An interactive multimedia-based educational module motivates children to embrace reading and writing habits. These modules assist children to gain knowledge of many complicated subjects in a fun and easy manner.

Always, the educational multimedia products facilitate to deliver an outstanding training module. However, a few of the training modules fail to meet their goal.

Let’s ponder 3 major reasons for the failure.

  1. Lack Challenge – I have come across many children based multimedia modules, and most of them are developed by teachers with little or no instructional design background. The content is mere reading from a textbook with a simple quiz thrown here and there. This does not encourage kids to proceed further as it does not challenge the kid. By creating the multimedia module more interactive might motivate the children to further explore the module. Children love hands on activity/exercise instead of just listening or reading.
  2. Information OverloadThe training modules fail to address higher thinking skills, the readings they require to integrate are scattered all over the web, which makes it hard for the audience to keep track from one reading to another. The multiple readings spread all over the web are not only very difficult to gather but also makes learning very distracting for the children.
  3. No Feedback – Feedback and more feedback constantly assist to create a better product that would enhance the learning of the children. Feedback from parents or teachers is highly recommended.

While designing high-quality interactive multimedia learning modules, the approach of the designer should be to motivate children and introduce them to a variety of learning styles that make the learning process more intriguing.

4 points for instructional designers to consider while designing education based multimedia module for children.

  1. The training module should display a strong base on which the children can build proficiency.
  2. It should demonstrate different learning styles.
  3. The training material should stimulate many parts of the kid’s brain.
  4. Above all make it fun for the children to learn.

Do you have any points to add to the above list?


© Priya Gopalakrishnan and, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.



Get inspired by ‘Dora the explorer’ for your next instructional design and development


It is the duty of every instructional designer to create the instructional tutorial that captures attention of the learner. However, we always end up questioning, how do I seize attention of my audience? The answer is simple yet complicated. ’Develop a learning environment that involves the learner.”

For ages, we are entertained by various children shows, television series, cartoons, etc. Most of them has one element in common and that is ‘entertainment’. Only a few stand out that entertain kids as well as educates them. One such animated television series for preschoolers is ‘Dora the explorer’.

If you are like me, a pre-school child’s mom, you are aware of ‘Dora the explorer’ and the potential behind the interactive video.

Dora is a young girl who jumps on a trip in every episode to find either a missing character or to help somebody. While she is on the quest, she asks the spectators at home to help her find the paths to reach her destination. On the way, she educates the audience Spanish language as well as introduces them to new words, numbers, colors, etc. Dora involves the audience to get up, solve a mystery, tells them to repeat with her. The interactivity engages the kids by providing an activity, a challenge and a feedback.

The interactive activities and the learning essentials in every episode is the key essence for its success and that set’s it apart from other preschooler’s shows.

The developers of ‘Dora the explorer’ use Howard Gardner’s theory of ‘multiple intelligence’ as their guide. The theory demonstrates that humans show seven kinds of intelligence and that the educational activities need addressing those seven types of intelligence towards the target group to meet a great success.

Children literally get so involved in the fun that they are not even aware about the intellectual knowledge they are gaining at the same time.

How can instructional designers get inspired by Dora and develop instructional material for adults?

Adult learners cannot be much differentiated from children when we talk about capturing their attention as well as making them involved in the learning practice.

Learning has moved from instructor-centered to learner-centered.

Designers have to keep in mind that, to make an effective and efficient learning occurrence for the learners, they need to create their instructional material with elements of interactive learning activities to involve and engage the learners, which will eventually encourage an outstanding learning experience.

‘Seven Principles of Good Practice’ to follow in designing Online Education

[tweetmeme]Good quality training material is defined differently for every individual. A definition must be substantiated, the quality of education must be assessed and evaluated regularly.  As an instructor or an instructional designer, we must look at a variety of indicators to get an evident picture of the quality of educational material that we design for online students.

‘Seven Principles of good Practice’, was developed by Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda Gamson in 1987 and was later revised in 1996 with a focus on technology. These principles offer suggestions on how to assess and evaluate online education. “The principles were based on a research in teaching-learning activities that produced improved outcomes” (Ehrmann, 2000, p.38). The research has set the groundwork for education systems standards and the implementation of the seven principles of good practice-a foundation used by higher educational institutions everywhere.

Given below are the Seven Principles of Good Practice in online education –

  1. Good practice encourages contact between students and instructor – Frequent contacts between a student and an instructor right from the commencement of the class through the end of the class needs to be encouraged to motivate and have the students involved. E.g. Communicating with students via; Web conferencing, Email, Discussion board, etc. By communicating with the students, the students won’t feel isolated and therefore, will be encouraged to continue the education.
  2. Good practice develops reciprocity and cooperation among students – Collaborative learning develops thinking and expands understanding. Working/studying in a team enhances involvement in learning. E.g. Team project work.
  3. Good practice uses active learning techniques – Students must present reflective write-up about what they are learning, instructor may encourage writing that relates to their past experiences, and apply those to their present situation. Encourage students to participate in asynchronous tools like discussion boards to present their write-up and respond to their peers. By discussing/Critiquing peers work, students are motivated and get involved in learning.
  4. Good practice gives prompt feedback – Recognizing whether you are right or wrong benefits in focusing what you learn. Students at any stage always need help in assessing their existing knowledge competence. The students in online education usually anticipate to two types of feedback; informative feedback and acknowledgment feedback. Informative feedback motivates students and helps them to move further with confidence. Acknowledgment feedback is to inform the student that they have received an assignment and so on.
  5. Good practice emphasizes time on task – Allocating a quality amount of time will always lead to effective learning for students as well as for instructors. Online education needs to have timely deadlines for the students to stay on track and avoid procrastination.
  6. Good practice communicates high expectations – Instructors need to expect high expectations from student’s performance. They can maintain this by assigning challenging project or assignment work throughout the course. E.g. Faculties can show examples of work from older students and explain to the students, how the example work met her expectations. Make your expectations very clear in the beginning of the course work.
  7. Good practice respects diverse talents and ways of learning – Make tailored course work. Allow students to choose their own project/ assignment work rather than assigning them a particular topic. This will always bring out student’s self-confidence as it would encourage bringing out their talent as well as sharing their own perspective.

Do you accept the ‘Seven principles of good practice’, or are there other principles you consider should also be looked at when assessing quality in learning?


© Priya Gopalakrishnan and, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

The impact of Internet and web in ‘K-12 education, Higher Education and Adult Education’

Selected as one of the ‘Best Blog Posts of the Week; May 30, 2010 – June 05, 2010‘  by

The technological innovations of Internet and the web demonstrates a major impact in –

  • K-12 Education (public, private, home school)
  • Higher Education (community colleges, colleges/universities)
  • Adult Education (business, health care)

K-12 Education

Internet and web already have a major impact in K-12 education. It has been around for some time now. Nearly a decade back I worked on a few websites for a private school that would teach math, grammar, spellings for k-8 kids in a fun and interactive way. Online educational games are getting more and more popular in this arena.

Many web-based instruction are also available for home school children; California Virtual Academies use personalized curriculum for K-12. Their curriculum are designed based on their research work of ‘how young minds work’. Children are encouraged to do research work on the web for their assignments.

Many schools in the process of going green are encouraging their students to send their homework online and also the student’s performance is assessed through online exams. The mission of ‘One Laptop per Child’ foundation is to create educational possibilities for the world’s poorest children by giving each child a low-cost laptop with content and software loaded for collaborative learning. Children love technology and when they are given this tool, they are ready to educate themselves, get connected to the world and look forward to a brighter future.

In the current K-12 education world, the involvement of web is reflected as one of the essentials of school.

Higher Education

The impact of internet in higher education is fairly huge, and it is anticipated much more in the coming years. Internet education is a big blessing for the students who are not able to attend in-person classrooms due to many reasons.

Gone are the days when online universities were a big mystery, since they did not show themselves to the world. Today, almost all the brick and mortar universities around the globe have adapted to online education. Their courses are divided into three categories; face to face or traditional classrooms, blended or hybrid and online courses. When I receive a brochure of my local community college, a separate section is devoted to online courses, as well as to hybrid courses. Education has no boundaries after the online education has been recognized.

Given below are just a few features that are available for online students –

  • Face to face interaction is replaced by Video conferencing with professors and classmates using many online collaborative tools but at the same time maintaining similar interaction and educational values as in any classrooms.
  • Classmates share wiki for working on collaborative projects.
  • Apart from the above examples, not to forget; saving commuting time, an opportunity for stay at home mom, upgrading your profile while working, etc.

Yes, there are certain disadvantages to this kind of education. More than traditional classrooms, the online education is a bit intensive and rigorous; however, a little planning and organizing would solve the problem. One might have to give up the socializing part of traditional classrooms. These disadvantages mean nothing over the benefits we gain at this level of education.

Adult Education

The corporate world is immensely progressing to give training through online to their new employees. It’s no more just; give them a bunch of manuals and ask them to study before they join their work. From time to time, the company encourages their employees to take up online courses that would be useful for their organization. Varieties of multimedia training programs are created for the employees to get acquainted about the company. Here are a few examples – training –

Comcast –

Employee Security –

Even health care is making a massive leap towards the Web. A couple of years back, in India, a major surgery saved a life. This surgery was special; the reason, the surgery was performed in India with the help of a surgeon in USA. I believe in both the sides web-cams were connected and the surgeon was giving instructions to the Indian doctors looking at the patient in monitor screen. Amazing isn’t it?

A diversity of interactive websites are devoted to health care that can teach upcoming health specialists to task on certain body parts. Wondering how is that possible? Here are a few examples –

Virtual Knee Surgery –

Interactive tour on Human Brain –

This is Web 2.0 era, and already we are enjoying such huge possibilities. With Web 3.0 fast approaching, how do you think K-12, Higher Education and Adult Education would be more benefited?

Thanks to for providing the eLearning demo links. You can find other E-Learning Demos at


© Priya Gopalakrishnan and, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.