Bailey, Bob.  Multimedia and Learning.  November, 2001. Retrieved from http://www.webusability.com/article_multimedia_and_learning_11_2001.htm 

In this article, Bailey uses research from Faraday and Sutcliffe, Najjar, and Lee and Bowers to describe factors of multimedia that affect learning.  He discusses guidelines for improving learning and characteristics of web sites that affect learning.   

Lee and Bowers’ research suggest that hearing spoken text and looking at graphics was the best combination of multimedia to enhance learning since students “extra cognitive processing of information helps to better integrate the material with prior knowledge, which helps to improve learning (Bailey).”   

Interactivity is also acknowledged to have a positive affect on learning by giving students control into exploring their own learning.  Learner control was one aspect that was consistent with Elizabeth Murphy’s review of research in the article, Interactive Multimedia Learning Environments.   

Bailey continues with a list from Pete Faraday at Microsoft who conducted research in 2000 of how multimedia information is usually processed by users on web pages.  He found “that the visual processing of web pages appeared to form a distinct visual hierarchy in which certain perceptual elements have priority” (Bailey).  This was interesting and seemed to make sense of how viewers react to such features as motion, colour, size, images, and text style.   

Bailey ends the article with Najjar’s strongest research evidence that multimedia should be interactive, and tasks should encourage learners to actively process information.  I was skeptical when it came to the “moderate” and “some” evidence.  I didn’t think this was an appropriate way to categorize the research.  The information was too general and I had to wonder how you would treat those findings as a researcher?  It seems that one would have to follow-up on those characteristics of multimedia learning.  “Using the medium (s) that best facilitate elaboration” for example, should be examined. 

Bailey presents some introductory concepts of how multimedia affects learning.  I thought that the article was brief in its description and explanation of topics addressed and I would have liked to have read more research to support the lists generated in Bailey’s discussion.

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