MODULE 2: Lessons 6, 7 and 8

Learning Outcome 2:

On completion, the learner should be able to explore the scope of digital media.

Lessons 6 and 7 Scenario

Curious Designs (your employer) has accepted your advice to broaden its current range of print based products and services to include the use of digital media technologies. The company has recently won a contract to develop multimedia instruction (elearning) for the Commonwealth Bank. You have been asked to prepare an audio tutorial for staff that explains what is elearning.

>Information vs Instruction

"Imitating paper on a computer screen is like tearing the wings off a 747 and using it as a bus on the highway." (Ted Nelson)
In the early days of disk-based computer-based training (CBT), there was a rush to pour content into electronic tutorials. At the time, computers could only display black and white text. Audio, video, and graphics were years away. A few innovative designers made the most of the limited media and created engaging simulations, quizzes, and even games. But this was the exception to the rule and most early programs were nothing more than books on a computer. Learners were forced to passively read the text on the screen, often clicking the Enter button or space bar to move on. Eyestrain and boredom, rather than improved learning and performance, often were the end results. These types of programs, derisively known as page-turners, tainted the image of CBT for many years.
With the advent of interactive videodisks and multimedia CD-ROMs, designers gained the ability to add graphics, animation, audio, and video. Today's CD-ROM training programs often use creative themes and production elements that make them look more like the latest blockbuster movie or Nintendo® video game. These bells and whistles can keep students engaged, but still many of these programs lack implementation of sound principles of instructional design. Frequently, development budgets are consumed by dramatic themes and Hollywood production values, leaving little resources to spend on instructional activities. The result is an audience who has been entertained but who has not acquired new skills or knowledge.


1. Go to the article Information is Not Instruction - The Wise Remarks of David Merrill and prepare a summary of the differences between information and instruction. Use this summary in your audio tutorial.
2. Review the following examples of online instruction and classify the examples as being either information or instruction.
Electric Circuits
Using a digital camera
Web Page Authoring (start with the Syllabus then go to Lessons then exams)


e-learning allows you to learn anywhere and usually at any time, as long as you have a properly configured computer.
E-learning can be CD-ROM-based, Network-based, Intranet-based or Internet-based. It can include text, video, audio, animation and virtual environments. It can be a very rich learning experience that can even surpass the level of training you might experience in a crowded classroom. It is self-paced, hands-on learning.
The quality of the electronic-based training, as in every form of training, is in its content and its delivery. E-learning can suffer from many of the same pitfalls as classroom training, such as boring slides, monotonous speech, and little opportunity for interaction. The beauty of e-learning, however, is that digital media allows the creation of very effective learning environments that can engulf you in the material.

>Incorporating Digital Media in eLearning


Text isn't necessarily seen as multimedia, but it is an important element in e-learning. The problem with many e-learning programs is that the developers have simply taken their existing text-based teaching and put it on the computer screen. The interactivity of the program consists of reading text and then clicking on an arrow to proceed to the next page. You have to use some text, but you can do it responsibly. Keep it to no more than six lines per screen and intersperse it with other elements.


The power of audio may often be overlooked, but the combination of written and spoken words does have a big impact on recall and retention.


A paper by Rachel Ellis and Mark Childs, published in the Journal of Educational Media in 1999, discussed the The Broadnet Project, which was a study on the effectiveness of video as a learning tool in online multimedia modules. Their conclusions and recommendations based on the analysis of comments and perceptions of the trainees and the producers were:
  • Use video stories to put the subject into its context of use.
  • Use video clips followed by questions to encourage active participation from trainees and build on existing knowledge.
  • Ensure that these clips have the information required to answer the questions.
  • Limit the length of talking head video clips and use them to elaborate on specific points.


Animated graphic elements are great to use in training. They are fun to watch, and can get a message across that words or audio (or even video in some instances) cannot. Animation is another element, however, that has to be used appropriately. While animations don't typically require the bandwidth that video does, they still can slow down a Web-based program.


1.Go to this eLearning course to learn about elearning

2. Here is a range of demonstration elearning courses
The eLearning Centre is a a vast collection of selected and reviewed links to e-Learning resources.
Here is an optional reference with additional material on learning.
How People Learn
3. Complete this poll:


1. Go to and listen to a podcast. Note the use of music and sound effects to add interest and fun to the podcast. Try to be this creative in your audio tutorial.
>>>Sound effects, free music, movie sounds, etc.
For example:

>>>Music clips, sound effects, background music, etc.
For example:

powered by ODEO

2. Prepare and publish an audio tutorial with the objective "You will be able to describe what is elearning". Use the ARCS learning model (illustrated below) to define the content and structure of your audio file.
3. Go to these sites (click the image) for ideas for your audio tutorials.

Click here to get your own player.


Click the image to go to the Lesson 8 exercise