The authors defined Multimedia (multiple media) as a combination of still images, graphics, sound, animation, and text in order to “communicate” the message in multiple ways (p.173.) Hypermedia, in turn, refers to “linked” media, that is, connected via the Internet (p.173.)
Current and Future Impact of Hypermedia on Education
“A lot of students these days expect information to be presented in a flashy, entertaining way, so videos can help draw them in”, states Edutopia. Moreover, the article continues, “teachers all across the country are finding that judiciously chosen videos help students engage more deeply with the subject matter, and recall the information they’ve learned longer.”
Moreover, according to National Teacher Training Institute, teachers who use instructional video claim that their students “retain more information, understand concepts more rapidly and are more enthusiastic about what they are learning.” That is, a short but carefully chosen and incorporated into the lesson video will help students connect the topic/ concept to the real world.
- Increased Motivation – students demonstrate enthusiasm as hypermedia allows space to be “proactive” learners.
- Flexible Learning Modes – hypermedia can be beneficial for everyone as it can allows to excel in one or some of what is known as “Multiple Intelligences”, the theory developed by Howard Gardner.
- Development of creative and critical thinking skills – as students can also be “creators” of hypermedia products (as opposed to being simply users), their learning can be taken on a different level all together – they will be required to make decisions, communicate, collaborate, solve problems, and complete projects; therefore, students will apply higher order thinking skills ( Roblyer and Doering (2012.)
According to Roblyer and Doering (2012), the popularity of hypermedia use has been on the increase not only among practicing educators but also among researchers (p.176.) The further presented an interesting research outcome, stating that the initial hypothesis about media being able to mirror the human mind, increase interest to learn or enable instruction adapted to learners preferences and cognitive skills (176), among others, has not been really validated due to the “richness and complexity” of these environments (176.) Instead, say Roblyer and Doering, researchers identified two lines of research: 1) characteristics of hypermedia that is believed to increase student achievement and 2) impact of hypermedia on student engagement (176.) Finally, they conclude with the research outcome of the work of Richard Mayer, the work that took more than 20 years to be completed; much of the work was devoted to identify ways to design (learning) environments that “maximize productive processes”, yet do not cause “cognitive overload” – that is, allows learners to process information to the fullest extent, yet without becoming totally overwhelmed (p.177.)
Such a result can be achieved when information is processed through various channels (instead of only one channel) – an hypermedia fits in well due to its complexity and variety (Roblyer and Doering, 2012, p. 177.)
From Research to Practice – A Specific Example
Last week, my students (ESL, intermediate level) were assigned to read a text on the Biology of Altruism; a highly complex text rich with academic and scientific vocabulary. It was obvious that the text was quite a challenge, and that the concept it presented could not be successfully processed through the particular channel engaged during a reading activity. I than used some images to illustrate what the students just read about – specifically, how “brain scan” and “pleasure center in the brain lit up” looked like. We also then watched a short YouTube video about the “Mirror Neurons”. It was obvious that my strategy of integrating hypermedia into my lesson plan enabled my students to “visualize” the information, become “engaged” into the learning activity, become more enthusiastic in their desire to comprehend the material, and, finally, retain to the information for a period of time (they were able to write about the mirror neurons, brain scan procedure, and brain pleasure center lit up even after a few days. They particularly enjoyed the Monkey see monkey do analogy used in the video.) No doubt, that lesson clearly demonstrated relative advantage of hypermedia integration!