Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Engaging Students in Multimedia-Mediated Constructivist Learning-Students' Perceptions

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Engaging Students in Multimedia-Mediated Constructivist Learning-Students' Perceptions

Article excerpt

Introduction

The infusion of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and, in particular, multimedia technology into education has created a significant impact on the instructional content development and the methods of communicating information to learners. This leads to the evolution of new concepts and innovative teaching techniques in the instruction-learning process, changing the way teachers teach and students learn. This changing landscape of education focuses on learning, rather than on teaching and pedagogy, curriculum and instruction. It seeks to create a generation of learners whose learning is defined as "the ability to retain, synthesize, and apply conceptually complex information in meaningful ways" (Lambert & McCombs, 1998). It also encourages better student learning through the learning objectives of project-based learning, or learning by doing (Schank, Berman and Macpherson, 1999), and to enable problem-solving, analysis, creativity and communication to take place in the classroom (Bates, 2000). In addition to these, multimedia technology has been shown to affect students' motivation and self-esteem levels, as well as allow them to become creative and self-directed thinkers (Agnew, Kellerman & Meyer, 1996).

In Malaysia, the traditional mode of learning is used in many institutions of learning. However, in the context of introducing technology and multimedia in learning, the Malaysian Government is echoing this learner-centred learning initiative with a call for Malaysian institutions of higher learning to integrate ICT into their classrooms (Mat, 2000). In addition, there is a strong push by the Malaysian Government to develop creativity, communications skills, analytical and critical thinking, and problem-solving skills--skills that are significantly lacking in current graduates (Tan, 2000; Teo & Wong, 2000). This mismatch has prompted Malaysian educators to seek new ways to develop these appropriate skills and knowledge in students in order to meet the rising expectations of the knowledge society. World-wide research, as well as in Malaysia, has shown that using constructivism and multimedia technology has becoming increasingly important in teaching and learning in higher education in order to promote and enhance the teaching and learning process (Shaziti 2000; Wong, Kamariah & Tang, 2003) when set within authentic contexts (Herrington, Reeves, Oliver & Woo, 2004),. This enables teachers to better transfer knowledge to their students in the classrooms (Wong et. al, 2003).

In the past, in the Malaysian region, many research studies tested ready-made CAI multimedia courseware on students (Norhayati & Siew, 2004; Mishra & Yadav, 2006), as well as the development of multimedia courseware by educators for teaching purposes (Rozhan & Habibah, 2000; Suraya 2005). Research on constructivist learning environments and problem-solving activities have been confined to Internet-based learning environments where students' perceptions of using Web-based learning materials were investigated (Low, Low & Koo, 2003; Lee & Tsai, 2005). The focus was to produce graduates with critical and creative thinking skills, oral and written presentation skills, and active learning skills. However, more focus should be placed on learning with ICT and multimedia technology within authentic, project-based, collaborative and multimedia-mediated learning environments.

This study was thus designed to investigate students' perceptions in using a multimedia project that was embedded within a constructivist-based learning environment and to study the impact of using a multimedia project on students with little experience with working in a problem-solving environment. Students in a second-year multimedia course worked in groups to develop an interactive multimedia application using a high-end multimedia authoring tool, Macromedia Director. The students all played active roles in their project development processes, as well as in determining and reaching their learning goals. …

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