How to make the Most of Multimedia in eLearning!
I’d rather watch grass grow than sit through boring eLearning. As a designer, I thank my lucky stars for multimedia, the holy grail of delighting and dazzling learners. I believe kick-ass eLearning results when all elements work in unison to deliver the message, however it’s surprising how many get this fragile balance wrong, bombing their eLearning ecosystems.
There’s definitely a fine line between learning and entertainment; here we explore six ways to make the most of multimedia in eLearning – how multimedia can work for you, rather than against you!
1. Cherry on top
Just like an ice-cream sundae, multimedia should be the cherry on top of your eLearning. Multimedia elements should always be relevant and add to and support the learning experience. Use elements to further explain or clarify learning; there is better use of time and money than producing redundant assets.
2. Video revamp
With the rise of media giant YouTube, video has become hugely popular and used correctly, is super effective in eLearning. “Keep it concise” is the best tip for video usage – ensure videos have been edited appropriately to remove disengaging “dead spots” and present key learning points at good pace. Mind the quality – there’s nothing like low-grade video to let down your eLearning.
3. Delight, don’t distract
How can learners be expected to concentrate on content if there’s a dancing bear on screen? Ok, extreme example, but you get the idea. Inappropriate use of movement is a common multimedia faux pas. Another multimedia fail is having assets play on page launch when there is text to be read, learners won’t know what to do first – put them in control by adding a play-head so they can play, pause or repeat.
4. Add audio appropriately
A pet peeve for many is audio replication of screen text. Despite the aim to be inclusive of different learning styles, it falls way below the mark, completely losing the fast readers. Audio should also be approached using the ‘cherry on top’ principle, allowing it to add appropriately to the experience. Don’t forget good quality sound production and voiceover talent.
5. To 3D, or not
No doubt they sure can look cool; however, multimedia production of 3D characters and environments is sophisticated and expensive, making the value of these fancy assets dependent on budget and need. Sound advice would be to invest where 3D is really required, such as creating interactive environments. Forget the characters – they often look best in 2D anyway.
6. Interactive, not reactive
You definitely need enough interactivity to fend off the next button virus and keep your learners from snoozing, but how much is too much? You don’t have to overdo it, just find that sweet spot. Keep it balanced throughout the eLearning, follow an explorative screen with many interactive objects, with a text and image screen. Avoid unnecessary clicks and don’t forget user experience (UX).