The education field is in a process of change driven by the new developments in technology; such developments determine the relationship between technology and education (Salinas, 1997). Educational institutions are adapting their teaching and learning processes to the technological advances (Cabero & Salinas, 2000). In addition, such advances are providing revolutionary tools like Web pages and multimedia-interactive systems. These tools can be integrated as a new way to teach (Bartolome, 1998).
A previous study (Jones & Buchanan, 1996) suggests that teacher-led instruction methods are proving "ineffective and inefficient for the diverse student population" which institutions must contend with today. Other studies (Bannan & Milheim, 1996; Parson, 1998; Simbandumwe, 2001) suggest that there has been widespread increase in the level of interest and use by academics of on-line; particularly Web based instructional systems, such as Web pages.
The Web is being used effectively to provide a resource base for support, discussion and illustration of teaching and learning techniques as well as the methodologies for their successful creation, application and use (Corderoy & Lefoe, 1996).
A multimedia-interactive system is a combination of two elements: multimedia and interactivity. Multimedia presents information through a variety of media, such as music, videos and animation (Boyle, 1997; Fowler, 1980; Najjar, 1996). The interactivity allows users to participate and control information (Estebanell, 2002). Touch screen buttons, for example, can be used to create exercises. Interactivity allows users to decide when and what information is presented (Rodriguez, 2000).
Studies supports the use of instructional practices that address the unique and varied ways that people learn (Bransford, Donovan, & Pellegrino, 2003). Advances in multimedia technology provide students opportunities to use digital media to gain and share knowledge (Lambert & Cuper, 2008). Implementing modern information systems and communication technology into teaching lessons enables an entirely new approach for education (Buch & Bartley, 2002; Kekale, Pirolt, & Falter, 2002; Simon, 1999). There are tutorials available and many possibilities for gaining suitable teaching packages and multimedia presentations that are used to teach (Moral, Esteruelas, Ezpeleta de la Fuente, & Martinez, 1995).
A multimedia-interactive system has the potential to revolutionize the way we work, learn and communicate (Stemler, 1997). Although, multimedia-interactivity is related to traditional and computer-aided learning systems, many of its aspects are arguably different from sequential media and computer-based instruction, as well as from hypertext (Park & Hannafin, 1993).
There is evidence in previous studies (Bagui, 1998) showing that, in some cases, computer-based multimedia can help people assimilate information better than Web pages systems, and multimedia-interactive systems allow the learning of complex subjects (Rodriguez, 2000), such as data structures (Brookshear, 1993).
The subject of learning data structures has been studied under different approaches as a software tools (Del Puerto & Ruiz, 2002). Previous studies of teaching data structures are classified based on their interactivity such as tutorials with hypertext (Marti-Oliet & Palomino, 2005; Warendorf, 1997), Websites or Web pages (Del Puerto & Ruiz, 2002; Pita & Del Vado, 2007) and interactive systems (Karavirta, Korhonen, & Stalnacke, 2004; Park & Hannafin, 1993).
Even though the subject of learning data structures has been widely studied under different situations, we did not find evidence that a multimedia-interactive system exists, specifically designed to teach binary trees (Karavirta, Korhonen, & Stalnacke, 2004).
In order to do so, we exposed a group of students to this technology (in a limited time frame), and a second group was taught using the Web page approach. …