Academic journal article Higher Education Studies

Comprehension of Architectural Construction through Multimedia Active Learning

Academic journal article Higher Education Studies

Comprehension of Architectural Construction through Multimedia Active Learning

Article excerpt


This study presents an investigation about the use of multimedia procedures applied to architectural construction teaching. We have applied current technological resources, aiming to rationalize and optimize the active learning process. The experience presented to students is very simple and yet very effective. It has consisted in a simulation of an actual building situation, so that they may participate more actively in their learning experience. Conclusions are extremely positive because students surprisingly involve themselves, and they are able to visualize and understand much better the reality of the construction, which increases their motivation and consequently reinforces their learning.

Keywords: multimedia, comprehension, learning, architecture

1. Introduction

1.1 Communication

According to the respected psychologist R. E. Mayer, when carrying out any explanation, it is always better that it be done with words and drawings or images, as opposed to exclusively with words (Mayer, 2001). For example, from his observations and research he deduces that students that read a text with related images placed near the corresponding words are 65% more likely to respond correctly than those students who only read the words when asked questions related to the text (Mayer, 1990).

While this is clearly nothing new in the educational field, the truth is that many education professionals feel that they find themselves faced with something totally novel. This perception lies in the wide range of possibilities offered by multimedia communication in terms of the use of greater numbers of means that have been appearing and becoming incorporated into educational tasks.

These media, analog or digital, may vary from text and images, to animation, sound, video, etc., and it is also possible to include electronic devices - along with any other media - as multimedia.

And while the term is somewhat common and natural nowadays, having become part of our daily language, the concept multimedia is as old as human communication itself. In our interactions with other individuals, we have always expressed ourselves by speaking, writing, observing our interlocutor, and gesticulating and moving our hands.

In other words, it is nothing new to note that we have always employed sound, text, sight and animation, the mechanisms characteristic of the multimedia language. The novelty perhaps lies in the fact that currently, with the use of computers, it has expanded extraordinarily.

Experience shows us - as we have been able to see -, that when we want to explain something, we can notably improve attention, comprehension and internalization by using distinct media, as the combination of some of these means make it possible for us to imitate the usual way in which we communicate as humans. That is to say, by using various senses together to get an understanding of a single object.

In the multimedia experience we find as an additional advantage what we might consider a linear presentation, in which users must visualize the contents according to a predetermined order; and the so-called "interactive multimedia", in which users have free control over the presentation of the contents, in terms of what they want to see and when they want to see it (Tabbers, Martens, Merriënboer, 2004).

All of this provides us with extraordinary advantages and possibilities. Thanks to these current resources and technological processes, we can easily use all these media to successfully motivate our students, such that the learning of the distinct subjects that make up our course lists become something entertaining, fun and efficient.

Combining images and words greatly helps to understand any explanation, which, as R. E. Mayer demonstrates, allows students to learn more completely than with words alone (Mayer, 1997). This strongly influences their motivation. If the content is additionally presented as a game in which the student actively participates, motivation can be further stimulated. …

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