Academic journal article Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia

Using a Quality-Led Multimedia Approach for Interpersonal Communication Training

Academic journal article Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia

Using a Quality-Led Multimedia Approach for Interpersonal Communication Training

Article excerpt

         Faced with a fast changing society, the need to develop quality
         instructional materials to update professional skills has
         become a growing necessity. This article shows how certain
         instructional design techniques, such as the Scenistic approach
         and the SNOW analysis, can ensure the educational and the broad
         technical quality of interactive multimedia environments. In
         doing this, we outline a novel way of helping adults improve
         their interactional skills by adopting a "situated learning"
         approach that includes a workplace-based video fiction,
         educational games, and on and offline social interactions to
         make the pedagogic content as versatile, attractive, and varied
         as possible for learners to reconstruct their knowledge in
         their own way. Finally, we outline some applications and
         implications of our approach, including the harsh reality of
         conducting evaluation of an instruction module in the


The issue of quality control has long been a thorny one for material designers, teachers, and students with each advocating their own particular conception of a "learner-centered" approach to multimedia assisted "learning (1)." Not least, is the challenge of reconciling, on the one hand, the demands of stakeholders and the technical constraints of creating a multimedia environment and, on the other hand, the imperatives of instructional theory and research. These issues become especially important in the professional "training" (2) field where adults are asked to update their knowledge in areas in which they feel they are already competent. In short, instructional theory and technology need to take into account that this target population is more demanding, less docile, less predictable, and less receptive to training sessions that call into question previously acquired knowledge and skills than, for example, more inexperienced adults. Failure to take this into account may be one of the reasons why many teachers and learners are disappointed at the apparent lack of efficacy of instructional multimedia.

Through a case study, we present a method of creating a multimedia environment that reconciles both the challenges of "quality" and those of instructional theory. The importance of our approach is its emphasis on the coherence of an instructional process that seeks to satisfy "learning needs."

To do this, we first define the concept of "quality" in the instructional context and the associated concept of "needs," giving it a broad generative meaning. This is followed by a presentation of a SNOW analysis of the instructional situation. We outline the analysis as a technique to facilitate communication between the interested parties involved in the creation of a multimedia environment. Then comes a detailed explanation of the Scenistic Approach, with its five-step phases: (a) diagesis, (b) narrative frame, (c) scenation, (d) scenic, and (e) setting up the situation. The approach focuses on the challenges of harnessing the multitude of educational and technical resources available to multimedia creators. In so doing it shows how one can create instruction modules according to pedagogic (3) principles, even those as complex as that of "situated learning." Using the production of an interactive multimedia environment, Je peux vous aider? (Can I help you?), Leleu-Merviel, Gredigui, & Vieville, 2002), as a case study, we discuss its practical and technical applications and implications in using this type of document to satisfy learner needs and expectations.


It is important to note that the term "quality (4)," in this article, is not aimed at reopening the debate of declared "quality" in education and training (see Labour, 1998, p. 219-227 for a critical discussion of this issue). Our approach, here, is more of a pragmatic one in taking up the challenges of creating instructional materials that facilitate an on-going learning process. …

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