Published on March 16, 2014
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THE ART OF MULTIMEDIA IN EDUCATION Supervisor: Examining board: by Ilia Goldfarb BCS / BEd Kalinin State University, 1980 A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Education in the Graduate Academic Unit of Faculty o f Education Jennifer Pazienza, BA, MEd, PhD Gerald Clarke, BA, MAT, DA (Chair) Ellen Rose, BA, BEd, MEd, DPhil Jane Fritz, BSc, MScCS, DPhil This Thesis is accepted 3pan of Gradual^ Studies THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW BRUNSWICK U February 2004 © Ilia Goldfarb, 2004 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
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Abstract With the recent widespread acceptance of computer-based training and e-leaming, and the development of broadband network services that allow for transmission of multimedia-rich materials over the Internet, it is now the right time to revisit the importance of multimedia, particularly visual media, in the overall success of educational multimedia products. This research focuses on description and analysis o f different approaches in development of multimedia products and their impact on the overall quality of the final product. In particular, this research study investigates what could be done to improve the overall visual quality of educational multimedia products. The research program involves inquiry into several multimedia development projects and involves several e-learning and multimedia development companies. Research shows that within educational multimedia development only carefiil consideration of a client’s needs will achieve long lasting success and client satisfaction with the “look and feel” of the final product. ii Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Acknowledgements Special thanks go to my supervisor Dr. Jennifer Pazienza who provided constant assistance and encouragement and offered her help and knowledge during the course of this research. My appreciation goes to Dr. Ellen Rose, McCain-Aliant Telecom Professor of Instructional Design and Multimedia for her assistance and expertise. I would also like to thank all the individuals and companies that participated in interviews and questionnaires, for their valuable time and efforts that helped me to complete the study. The ongoing support and encouragement from my family has been greatly appreciated. iii Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ii Acknowledgments iii Table of Contents iv List of Tables vi List of Figures vii I Introduction 1 1.1. Background and Problem Definition 1 1.2. Purpose of the Study 3 1.3. Significance 4 1.4. Limitations of this Study 4 1.5. Outline of Thesis 5 II Multimedia in Education 6 2.1. Introduction 6 2.2. Importance of Visuals in Educational Resources 7 2.3. “Instructional” vs. “Creative “ Approach to Developing 13 Multimedia Resources 2.4. Summary 18 III Research Program Design and Methodology 19 3.1. Program Design and Methodology 19 3.2. Participant Selection 22 3.3. Questionnaire Design 23 3.4. Data Collection and Analysis 27 IV Production of Educational Multimedia: Personal Experiences 29 4.1.CBT Developers Training Course 29 4.2.Edutainment Product Development - CD-ROM BookAdventure 33 4.3.Development of the Web site for the University LedE-Leaming Project 37 4.4.Summary 43 V Production of Multimedia: Surveys of Multimedia Development Companies 44 5.1 .Description of Data Collection 44 5.1.1. Participants in the Study 44 5.1.2. Questionnaire and Interview Data Collection Process 45 5.2.Data Coding 46 5.3.Data Description 48 iv Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
VI Data Analysis and Discussion 49 6.1. Research Survey Data Analysis 49 6.1.1. Who makes the final decisions on the “look and feel”? 49 6.1.2. Team Structure and Workflow 54 6.1.3. Team environment and communication issues 56 6.1.4. Who has input on the quality of the final product 59 6.2. Discussion 62 VII “Look and Feel” Assistant Tool 66 7.1. Background 66 7.2. Client-centered interface design approach 68 7.3. “Look and Feel” advisor tool 70 VIII Conclusions and Recommendations 74 8.1. Conclusions 74 8.2. Recommendations 76 8.2.1. Visual Communication in Education: Course Outline 76 8.2.2. Assistant tools and other recommendations 78 REFERENCES 80 Appendix 1 Application for Review of Research Involving Humans 86 Appendix 2 Data Description 101 1. Data on participants in the study 101 2. Data on the development teams and companies 103 3. Data on the development team environment 109 4. Who is making the final decision on the “look and feel” and effectiveness of the multimedia product? 120 5. Suggestions on improvements 126 v Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
List of Tables Table 5.1. Coding system for the entertainment multimedia sector Table 5.2. Coding system for the educational multimedia sector vi Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
List of Figures Figure 4.1. Structure for the CBT Development Team 32 Figure 4.2. Structure for the Creative Design Team 32 Figure 4.3. Structure of the Edutainment Book Adventure Development Team 35 Figure 4.4. Structure of the E-Learning Project Development team 38 Figure 7.1. “Look and feel” advisor tool architecture 71 Figure A 2.1. Workflow chart for company Ed-A 107 Figure A2.2. Workflow chart for company Ed-B 107 Figure A2.3. Workflow chart for company Ed-C 107 Figure A2.4. Workflow chart for company Ed-D 108 Figure A2.5. Workflow chart for company Ed-F 108 Figure A2.6. Workflow chart for company G-FI 108 vii Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Chapter I. Introduction 1.1. Background and Problem Definition Recently, with the rapid development of computer technology and the capability for integration of different media came an explosion of computer-based multimedia applications. Multimedia can be defined as the interactive use of text, graphics, animation, pictures, video and sound to impart information. Multimedia is not a modem creation; it “was bom as soon as our distant ancestors decided they could liven up their Friday night storytelling sessions with cave paintings, dance and song” (Welsh, 1998). Numerous educational multimedia products are used in educational institutions today. They are normally produced by the multimedia development teams. Most frequently a multimedia development team for educational materials consists of a Project Manager, Subject Matter Expert, Instructional Designer(s), Developer(s) and Graphic Axtist(s). These days the traditional approach to the development of a multimedia product places Instructional Designers as major leads in the overall “look and feel” of the final product and gives them the last word on what material goes into the final product (Rose, 2000). In my thesis, I refer to this approach as “Instructional.” Personally, based on my experience i n m ultimedia d evelopment, I feel t hat t his a pproach i s p roblematic, a 11he least. Unfortunately, Instructional Designers are, in general, not well prepared for the important multimedia design and visual decision-making task because, typically, they are insufficiently trained in the art of multimedia and, especially, in the art of visual presentation. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
To give some examples: in the program curriculum for Graduate Studies in Instructional Design, Development & Evaluation at Syracuse University’s School of Education (2001) there is only one course, out of 34 available, that teaches students some basic literacy in visual communications, and this course is not a required course but an elective. The same applies to the curricula of the University of Houston (2001), the University of South Alabama College of Education (2001), the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Memphis (2001) Instructional Technology Programs, where visual and media literacy is at the bottom of the course list, or not taught at all. It is interesting to note that the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction (IBSTPI), in the Instructional Design Competencies document (IBSTPI standards, 2000), states that the ability to effectively communicate in visual form is an essential professional foundation competency for Instructional Designers. In the course of this study, I thoroughly reviewed several books considered to be essential reading for Instructional Designers, such as The Systematic Design o f Instruction by Dick, Carey and Carey (2001) and Designing Instructional Systems by Romiszowski (1981). In these books, to my great surprise, I did not find any mention of the importance of visual communications skills. In addition to the above books, I also reviewed several respected educational scholarly journals, such as Educational Technology Research and Development and Educational Technology for the past three years, and found only one article remotely related to visual communications in instructional design (Lohr, 2000). Only recently, while completing my thesis, I discovered a newly published book, by the same author (Lohr, 2003), that teaches visual 2 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
literacy for educators. Lohr admits that her book is a response to the growing need for visual literacy for Instructional Designers: “ ...m ost people receive years of training in verbal communication but receive almost no assistance in the art and science of communicating visually” (p.5). This book was recommended for Instructional Designers during the AECT (Association for Educational Communications and Technology) 2003 Convention in Anaheim, CA, USA, as the only book on the subject of visual literacy for educators. 1.2. Purpose of the Study With the recent widespread acceptance of computer-based training and e-learning, and the development of broadband network services that allow for transmission of multimedia-rich materials over the Internet, it is now the right time to revisit the importance of multimedia and, particularly, visual media in the overall success of educational multimedia products. My research study focuses on description and analysis of different approaches in development of multimedia products and their impact on the overall quality of the final product. In p articular, I i nvestigate w hat c ould be d one t o i mprove t he o verall v isual quality and learning impact of educational multimedia products. The objectives of this study are: • To study, describe and analyze approaches, currently used by the industry, in the development of educational multimedia products; • To study, describe and analyze common approaches used in the development of gaming multimedia products; 3 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
• Based on results of the analyses of different approaches in development of multimedia products, to offer recommendations that, if implemented, will improve the visual quality of educational multimedia products and their learning impact. 1.3. Significance The significance of the proposed study is that it will describe and evaluate the current, most widely used, practices in multimedia development, and, after thorough review and analysis, offer recommendations that will summarize responses from industry practitioners and create a basis for changes that will lead to better educational multimedia products. In the future, in order to further advance our knowledge of the impact of different approaches in designing multimedia, it would be highly beneficial to conduct a follow-up study. This further study should utilize two teams of developers - “Instructional” and “Creative”- for the same project and analyze the results in terms of learning and visual impact. This future research project could constitute the first phase, the diagnostic phase (Baskerville, 1999; Hopkins, 1985), of the action research program on the use and effectiveness of different approaches in development of educational multimedia. 1.4. Limitations of This Study One of the limitations of the scope of this study is that it does not include evaluation of the possible limitations to the “Creative” design approach, such as the lack of skills, lack of project financing, etc. Another limitation o f this study is that the scope of participating companies is limited to one geographic location - the province of New Brunswick. 4 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
1.5. Outline of the Thesis Chapter II presents background material and a literature review of the current state of multimedia usage and development in education. Chapter III discusses the research program design and methodology, data collection, and analysis. My personal experiences and observations on production of educational multimedia are described in Chapter IV. Surveys of multimedia production companies are covered in Chapter V. Chapter VI presents analysis and discussion of research results. Chapter VII describes the assistive tool that could be utilized by the industry to solve some of the “look and feel” design problems. A summary of the main conclusions and recommendations is presented in Chapter VIII of this Thesis. The possible solutions for improving the visual quality of the educational multimedia products are also presented. 5 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Chapter II. Multimedia in Education 2.1. Introduction “The world of just text is irrevocably dead” (ArtsEdNet, 1997). This statement belongs to Allen De Bevoise, one of North America’s leading innovators in interactive technology. And he is not the only digital media guru who thinks this way. The director emeritus of the National Gallery of Art, J. Carter Brown, advisor and consultant to Bill Gates and the founder of OVATION - The Arts Network, the premier provider of arts and cultural programming on US television, also believes in the central place of images in education: “We are in a new age where the image can now be central, thanks to technology in a large part. Images are around us. Today, they have the potential to be as fundamental to education as words and numbers, adding significantly to the excitement, depth and relevance of what and how children learn” (ArtsEdNet, 1997). A c omprehensive d efinition o f m ultimedia, as a seamless i ntegration o f the different media types, is given by Heller and co-authors: ...multimedia is defined as seamless integration of two or more media. If two or more media are attached to each other, but not in a seamless way, we refer to them as multiple media. Depending on its roots, multimedia takes on different characteristics. If the root is education, then the focus of multimedia discussion is the delivery of education, and the media are analyzed in term of their effectiveness in delivering information. (Heller et al., 2001, p.l) 6 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Numerous educational multimedia products are used in educational institutions today. They vary from online and offline multimedia tutorials for adults, e-Leaming and corporate training, to edutainment CD-ROMs (products that combine entertainment and education) for children. In addition to this, with the recent explosion of the Internet, educational resources for teachers on the Internet are even becoming topics of popular books (Leshin, 199S). Numerous educators now hope that “like television before them, the Web and multimedia content have the potential of changing the face of education” (Baltes, 2001, p. 16). 2.2. Importance of Visuals in Educational Resources Until quite recently, the publishers of instructional materials rarely used visuals, due to the high cost of producing pictures, as compared to textual materials. However, the cost of reproducing pictures is not a factor now, when the materials are distributed electronically, such as in computer-based instruction, Web publishing or CD-ROM-based materials (Morrison et al., 2001) The recent development of digital means for producing and manipulating visual information has allowed for widespread use of visuals in instructional materials. However, to fully realize the potential benefits of using pictorial information for teaching, it is necessary for pictorial presentation to be done well. “Unfortunately, much of this swing toward more pictorial treatments has not been informed by a principled understanding of how people learn (or fail to learn) from pictures. Rather, it seems to be driven largely by a mixture of naive intuitions about the instructional efficacy of pictures and the technical capacity to include them cheaply and easily” (Lowe, 2001, p. 202). 7 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
It is well known that vision, for humans, represents the richest source of information. Seeing and hearing, and, particularly, seeing belong to the so-called “far senses” that are crucially important in the human survival mechanism. It is well documented that, when compared to other senses, vision dominates them (Seculer and Blake, 1990). Let’s apply this fact to learning: Learning is a lifelong process between humans and their environment, while instruction (by any mediating person or agency) is a deliberate intervention between learner and subject matter. Hence, effective instruction is seen as mediating optimally between learner and subject matter, taking into account characteristics of both. (Fleming, 1987, p.234) Thus, instruction is based on the learner’s perception. The learner’s perception, in turn, for computer - based instruction, is partially based on the display design: A learner presented with a display may select some part of it, compare it with some schema (organized information) in memory and immediately recognize the displayed object. Or, lacking a match between display and schema, the learner may scan further information in the display or seek another schema for comparison. This interactive, goal oriented process may continue until an adequate match is found, an existing schema 8 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
is modified, or a new schema is constructed. (Fleming, 1987, p. 237) Use of multimedia in the learning environment is a practical realization of the “distributed cognition” theory (Salomon, 1996). According to Jacobs and Dempsey (2002): In essence, distributed cognition recognizes that a person solves a problem or performs a task with the aid of other resources. The knowledge brought to bear on the task is distributed among the individual and other resources (e.g., computers or other people). ...The theory of distributed cognition h ypothesizes t hat i nformation i s p rocessed b etween individuals and the tools and artifacts provided by the environment or culture. A primary force causing us to move toward distributed cognition is the limitation of the individual, unaided human mind. Professionals in most fields have jobs that are increasingly more complex; more specialized, and require access to exponentially increasing domain knowledge. In general, researchers believe that multimedia helps people to learn and this belief is supported by the results of scientific studies (Najjar, 1996). For example, Geric and Jausovec (1999) describe experimental studies on differences in students’ cognitive processes related to different types of learning presentations, including text, audio, pictures and video. The results of these experiments clearly show a difference between the multimedia presentations and text presentations. According to this Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
research study, video and picture presentations increase the activity of the occipal and temporal lobes, thus triggering visualization strategies, while the text presentation increases the activity of the frontal lobes that control working memory. Thus, by presenting multimedia materials to students, the teacher, along with the working memory, can also trigger students’ mental imagery that is crucial to problem solving, creativity and discovery in learning (Rieber, 1994). It is known that computerized instruction saves learning time, as compared to classroom instruction (Kulik, Kulik, and Schwab, 1986). It was also found that a multisensory learning environment maximizes the ability to retain information. We can remember 20 percent of information by seeing it, 40 percent by seeing and hearing it, and 70 percent by seeing, hearing and doing it (Syed, 2001). There is also strong evidence that memory for a picture is better than memory for words. This is referred to as “the picture superiority effect” (Anglin et al, 2002). This effect is well known and is described, in the scientific literature, by several models such as “the dual code model, the single code model and the sensory- semantic model.” However, “...in many cases researchers in educational communications and technology have neglected the work that has been done concerning memory models” (Anglin et al., 2002, p.762). There is also a general understanding that illustrated text is more conducive to learning. According to Levie & Lentz (1982), pictures help readers to better learn the illustrated textual information, but do not have any effect on the comprehension of the information that is not illustrated. As shown by Peeck (1987), visual images are particularly useful for illustrating the spatial relationships described in the text: 10 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
For example, in a text describing the relationship between the position of the moon relative to the earth and sun during a lunar eclipse, a picture of these spatial relations would benefit the reader. Pictorial representations are also beneficial when used to illustrate abstract material and the main ideas in the text. (Morrison et al., 2001, p. 155) However, as shown by some research studies, the most effective use of illustrations in learning materials is achieved when the learner interacts with the illustration, for example, by labeling parts of the picture, tracing the picture or answering questions about the picture (Dean and Kulhavy, 1981; Winn and Holliday, 1982). Fleming and Levie (1978) report that print and pictures are available for processing longer. The implication of this fact is that print and pictures are more suitable for presentation of complex tasks that require prolonged attention (Fleming, 1987). Pictures are also better remembered than words (Gagne & Rohwer, 1969), which may cause an undesired effect, when a picture provides too much information that is difficult to process at once. Research studies by Fligbee (1979) and Jantz & Klawitter (1985) demonstrate the effectiveness of teaching children complex concepts through pictures, and the usefulness of generating visual images to support verbal material to be learned. These results are confirmed by numerous studies done by Appelman (1993), Duchastel (1978), Braden (1983), Fleming (1987 b) and Dwyer (1988): 11 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
A general conclusion would be that visuals and verbal materials when used together are in most cases stronger message carriers than when either is used alone.” (Summarized by Braden, 2002, p.507) Many researchers also agree that the multimedia multi-sensory capabilities, including text, graphics, colors, audio and video, create a stronger, and much longer lasting impression than mono or dual sensory input, through increased interactivity (Syed, 2001). Generally, interactivity seems to have a strong positive effect on the ability of students to learn (Stafford, 1990). There are some research studies that show that redundant multimedia seems to improve learning compared to a “monomedia” (Mayer and Anderson, 1991,1992). However, sometimes interactivity, when designed poorly, can be an annoying obstacle to accessing the required information quickly: Ironically, the more interactive it is, the less I can use it when I need it because I have to answer all those questions or go through all those exercises that are great when you are in a training program - but simply annoying barriers when I am doing regular work. (Gery, 2002, p. 25) In addition to the improved redundancy of information, it is known that multimedia can add authenticity to the learning environment: One of the major criticisms of education and schooling in the past is that it has been abstract and removed from reality. Multimedia and online learning provide ways to reduce the 12 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
abstractness of education by providing learners with access to real-life settings, realistic environments and authentic information and cases. (Oliver et al., 2001, p. 107) 2.3. “Instructional” vs. “Creative” Approach to Developing Multimedia Resources Educational multimedia products are sometimes developed by “Lone Rangers.” They are the educators who are experts on the subject, with the combined skills of computer programming, and graphic and computer interface design (Bates, 2000). However, most frequently, educational multimedia is currently developed by a development team that consists of a Project Manager, Subject Matter Expert, Instructional Designer(s), Developer(s), and Graphic Artist(s) (Welsh, 1998; Lohr, 2000). As mentioned earlier, in Chapter I, most often, Instructional Designers take a lead in the overall “look and feel” of the final educational product. In spite of the above-mentioned studies, showing the positive effect of multimedia on learning, the efficiency of using multimedia in education was debated for a long time. According to research studies on using pictures in textbooks done during 1960s and 70s (Willows, 1978; Braun, 1969; Samuels, 1967), as quoted by Braden (2002, pp. 505-506), the use of pictures with textual material is “shown to be distracting...: 1. The bulk of research findings on the effect of pictures on acquisition of a sight vocabulary were that pictures interfere with learning to read. 13 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
2. There was almost unanimous agreement that pictures, when used as adjuncts to the printed text, do not facilitate comprehension... In addition to this, early research on use of computer animation in education was “heavily prone to confounding” (Reiber, 1994, p. 169). The above mentioned research studies, over the years, influenced the prevalent attitude of instructional design scholars, towards the use of multimedia in educational purposes. This attitude is well described by Rosenberg (2001): “...by simply adding multimedia elements to a bad learning program won’t improve it.” (p.56). Supporters o f this view stress the paramount importance of instructional design in the educational products. They even state that multimedia could, potentially, make the bad learning design worse. They emphasize that, in developing educational multimedia materials, the most attention should be paid to the learning design, and not to how the product looks, whether it is boring, etc. (Rosenberg, 2001). For example, Merrill (2002) writes: “Existing instructional authoring tools tend to emphasize delivery, games, flashy graphics, and animation rather than instruction or learning.” (p. 15). The foreseen problem with this approach is that, when the multimedia product is developed using this “Instructional” approach, there is not a single person on the team who is considering the final result, as a personal multimedia creation, and the visual quality, the “look and feel” of the final multimedia product suffers. Let’s take a look at another, and quite successful, example within the multimedia development industry - the gaming industry that drives digital 14 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
entertainment. It was estimated that the PC and console (such as Sony’s PlayStation, Nintendo, etc.) software sales in the US and Europe amounted to 10.9 billion in 2000. The projections for future growth are also extremely high: it is projected that the amount of players for online PC games will increase to 28 million by 2004 - three times the 1999 level (Nack, 2001). What are the factors, in the software development process, that further the success of the gaming multimedia industry? One of these factors is that, contrary to the “Instructional” development process, used in educational multimedia, the gaming industry is using a “Creative” approach to develop computer games. Within the game development team, typically, there is one person - a Creative Director, a Game Designer, an Animator or a Graphic Artist who has the overall responsibility for the “look and feel” of the multimedia piece. T o i llustrate this point, C lifford Lau, animator for Sega, writes: “The better games will be done by a few creative minds that do things because it engages them. If they are creative enough, than it will engage everybody else.” (Vivid Studios, 1995, p.58). The Creative Director establishes the style guide for the entire project and supports the creativity of other members of the team, including graphic designers, instructional designers, animators, and programmers (Welsh, 1998). Creative directors, typically, have a formal education in design or visual art and have a command of all media forms and their uses in multimedia applications (Vivid Studios, 1995). The “Creative” approach in making multimedia products seems to be successful in the entertainment and the edutainment industry, but in the development 15 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
of educational multimedia it is o ften rejected and disapproved; “ ...the pedagogical equivalent of religions which promote renunciation of earthly pleasures and strict obedience to the rules of pious existence” (Rose, 2000, p.106). This widespread rejection and disapproval of creativity impacts the overall quality of most educational multimedia products. As written by an Instructional Designer: Even m embers o f t he p roduction t earn a re f ar m ore 1ikely t o show enthusiasm for an animated train that they have created than they are for a dry but effective tutorial. (Rose, 2000, p.106) Similarly, based on the combined 38 years of experience in designing learning materials, Morrison and co-authors write that: While it may be trite, it is often true that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. Graphic art and interface design is, however, often an afterthought. Some companies focus solely on hiring instructional designers and writers, hoping to simply slip some clip art into their courseware. Yet when asked to recall the instruction, students nearly always mention a visual, rather than a passage of text. (Morrison et al., 2001, p .161) Even people who prioritize the use of instructional design skills in multimedia development agree that: ...when used carefully and properly, it is possible to incorporate the richness of multimedia in the learning 16 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
experience without degradation in access, quality or speed. (Rosenberg, 2001, p. 57) However, it is interesting to note, that evidence of the positive effect of multimedia on learning materials is coming from the entertainment industry: for example, the “Specials” page on CNN’s Web site, where learning and interactivity are built-in without affecting the quality of visual presentation (CNN, 2001). Needless to say, CNN, like other media companies, employs professional graphic designers, and artists do the overall design of their Web site. During a speech to the education policy-makers entitled "Images at the Core of Education" Stanford University Professor of Education and Art Dr. Elliot Eisner gave the following context and meaning to the power of images in education: Experience itself is rooted initially in a world of images. Ordinary experiences are, in a sense, multimedia events that focus on images, and education shapes the way in which those images are experienced. The world that we occupy is a world of sight, sound, taste, smell, and it is an interactive world. It is an image-filled world, and without access to that world or without the ability to experience the qualities that constitute the world in which we live, I think no education could go forward. Images are at the core of education because they constitute the concepts that represent the distilled residue of experience. (ArtsEdNet, 1997) 17 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
2.4. Summary To summarize, literature sources, quoted in this study, support the notion that visual information improves learning. It is also clear that there is a lack of visual communications research in the instructional design community and a lack of visual literacy t raining for Instructional D esigners. T he 1iterature r eview also s hows t hat there are two different approaches in the development o f multimedia products: the “Instructional” approach that puts an Instructional Designer in decision-making position, and the “Creative” approach that gives decisive power for the overall “look and feel” of the product to one person on the team - the Creative Director - who is trained in the art of visual presentation. The importance of well-designed, computer- based learning materials that are engaging for learners is stressed by Schar & Krueger (Schar & Krueger, 2000): Learning should not be dull and serious. On the other hand, using a CAL [computer assisted learning] system can be exiting and fun without promoting learning. Hence, a good book is better than a bad CAL system, but a CAL system that meets the methodological and technical requirement of the instructor and the needs of the students can bring new inspiration into teaching and learning as well as a new way of knowing, (p .50) IS Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Chapter III. Research Program Design and Methodology 3.1. Program Design and Methodology This research study focuses on the description and analysis o f different approaches in development of multimedia products and their impact on the overall quality o f t he final p roduct. In p articular, I investigate t he m ultimedia production process for two different types of multimedia products: educational multimedia and games, using a qualitative research methodology. The qualitative research approach is based on the assumption of multiple realities. Qualitative research, usually, has a purpose of understanding the social situation from perspectives of different participants, by means of flexible research methods and strategies where “design emerges as data are collected” (McMillan and Schumacher, 2001, p. 15). In a qualitative research program the researcher, most often, becomes immersed in a social situation. Thus, it is important for a qualitative researcher, as a data collector, to be a well-prepared person. For qualitative researchers it is also vitally important to record the framework of the context, because, at the end of the research study, they have to develop context-bound generalizations. This research study is carried out as a qualitative research program. My literature review indicates that there is very little research done on the phenomenon I am studying. Therefore, I feel that, in this case, it is appropriate for me to conduct a qualitative research study that is concerned with an understanding of the phenomena from participants’ perspectives. Due to my role as a participant-observer in some research c ases for t his st udy, I a m immersed i n t he s ituation a nd t he p henomenon 19 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
being studied (McMillan and Schumacher 2001, p. 16). This study is context- dependant and all generalizations made in my research and data analysis are context- bound. All known qualitative research methodologies can be divided based on interactive enquiry methods and non-interactive methods. In interactive enquiry methods the researcher, in order to collect data, conducts an in-depth study using face-to-face techniques. Non-interactive enquiry methods, usually, involve investigation of historical concepts and events conducted through an analysis of documents and/or artifacts. Interactive enquiry methodologies for qualitative research include ethnography, phenomenology, case study, grounded theory and critical studies (McMillan and Schumacher 2001, p.35). Ethnography involves research on the description and interpretation of a cultural or social group or system, and, quite frequently, requires prolonged field work employing the researcher’s observations and interviews with participants of a shared group activity. A phenomenological study investigates and describes the meaning of a lived experience. A typical technique involved in this type of study is a lengthy and detailed interview with the participants that extracts the understanding of the participants’ perspective on some phenomenon (Moustakas, 1994; Seidman, 1998). The grounded theory technique normally goes beyond the description of a particular phenomenon, and towards the development of a substantive theory. The data, collected by the researcher, include interview data. This type of study, usually, involves multiple visits to the field that help the researcher to analyze the information 20 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
obtained during the interviews. This process is a form of a modified analytical induction, when the initial theory is developed as a working hypothesis, and, in time, tested on different cases to develop the properties of conditional propositions (Bodgan and Biklen, 1998). Critical studies methodology is based on the view that society is structured by class and status, and, in turn, divided by race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation (Lather, 1991). Critical studies often have emancipatory goals that are, frequently, expressed through the critique of the status quo or a direct action by the researcher or by the participants (McMillan and Schumacher 2001, p.38). According to Stake (1995), case study usually deals with the case as an object of study, and Yin (1994) considers it as a methodology. Case studies can be used to test hypotheses. Themes and hypothesis may be important, but they remain subordinate to the understanding of the case (Stake, 1995). A case study, usually, examines a “bounded system” (Smith, 1974), and can be an event, a program, an activity, or a group of individuals. The researcher always defines the case and its boundaries. In addition, a case study can involve one entity or multiple entities (multiple sites). Based on my careful analysis of the above interactive qualitative research methods, I have chosen the case study, as a research method, for conducting this study. The ethnographic research method was not chosen, because it is normally applied to a study of cultural behavior, rituals and beliefs (Creswell, 1998) and this is not a focus of my enquiry. Phenomenological research enquiry, involving lived experiences by members of the multimedia development teams, was first considered, 21 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
but was later ruled out, because of the wider scope of my investigation and data collected. Grounded theory and critical studies methods were also ruled out, as not applicable. The case study methodology chosen for my research study normally requires multiple site studies that lead to less depth of analysis for any single site involved in the study, but gives a broad view of the topic studied. This is why there are some limitations on how much data I was able to collect on the studied processes. My case study uses a multi-modal approach to data collection and employs several methods of data collection. My sources include documentation, questionnaires, interviews, participants’ observations, and, in addition, my direct observations. The study investigates the activity of multimedia product development by the members o f development teams for e-leaming and gaming companies. This case study of the multimedia development process helps to answer the following question: who, in the multimedia development team, makes the final decision on the “look and feel” of the final multimedia product? Answering this question is crucial for finding the answer to the major question: what could be done to improve the visual quality of educational multimedia products? 3.2. Participant Selection This research program is carried out as case study of several multimedia development projects and involves several e-leaming and multimedia development companies in the province of New Brunswick and the University’s educational multimedia development team. Some of these studies are based on my own experiences, as a member of several multimedia development teams. I have chosen 22 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
New Brunswick, as a selected site for my study, because the province of New Brunswick is well recognized for its leadership in the on-line learning business. According to the information, recently posted on the Province of New Brunswick Web site: .. .several New Brunswick companies have attracted worldwide interest in their e-leaming services, including web-based learning p rograms and sp ecialized c ourseware. An i ncreasing number of post-secondary level courses are being offered by New Brunswick institutions in an online learning environment, including those dealing with information technology management, e-commerce and e-business. (eNB, 2003) For my case study I am using a group of fourteen participants. All participants are members of the multimedia development teams for several multimedia development companies. These companies represent a diverse cross section of the multimedia development community in New Brunswick and include the University, e-leaming and gaming industries. 3.3. Questionnaire Design The research program was designed to be carried out as studies of several multimedia development projects and involved several e-leaming and multimedia development companies and the University. The study investigated who, in the multimedia development team, has the most impact on the “look and feel” of the final multimedia product. Thus, it was logical to have, as main participants (research 23 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
subjects) in the study, members of multimedia development teams of the companies and organizations involved. Depending on the multimedia products type the development team could, in general, include a Project Manager, a Creative Director, an Instructional Designer(s), a Visual Artist(s), a Subject Matter Expert and a Programmer(s) (Developer). Research subjects participated in interviews, conducted by the researcher, and answered written questionnaires, distributed by the researcher. The following questionnaire was designed to prepare the participants of the study for face-to-face interviews with the researcher. Multimedia production questionnaire distributed to research study participants: 1. Are you currently working or did you previously work for a company that produces/d multimedia products? 2. What kind of multimedia products are/were produced by the company? (educational, edutainment, games) 3. What was the title of your position? 4. For how long do/did you work for this company? 5. What is/was the structure of the project team? (Project Manager, Instructional Designer, Graphic Artist, Video Specialist, Audio Specialist, Subject Matter Specialist, etc.). 6. What is/was your Project Manager’s background (Instructional Design, Visual Artist, Business Administration, etc.) 7. How many people of each specialty do/did you have in your team? 8. How many people of each specialty, as far as you know, are/were employed by your company? 24 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
9. What is/was the work flow? (Who was giving instructions to whom?) 10. How much input do/did you have on making decisions that affect the quality of the final product? 11. What do/did you like about your project team environment? 12. What do/did you dislike about your project team environment? 13. How do you think team environment affects/affected the quality of the final product? 14. In your project team, who is/was making final decisions on the "look and feel" and effectiveness of the multimedia product? 15. Do you have any suggestions on how to improve team structure or the production environment that, in turn, will improve the quality of a multimedia product? The first four questions in this questionnaire were designed to gather information about participants. Questions 5, 6, and 7 helped to collect some specific details on the project development team, including details on the team structure. Questions 8 and 9 were designed to provide some information about the multimedia company, including a breakdown by team members’ specialty and the company’s workflow. The information about team environment is collected from answers to questions 10, 11 and 12. Finally, questions 13, 14 and 15 ask for the participants’ input on how, they think, team structure and e nvironment a ffect the quality o f the final multimedia product. 25 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Since this study gathers data from human beings, the research proposal had to meet ethical considerations with respect to confidentiality, anonymity, freedom to withdraw, informed consent, and freedom from enquiry. My research proposal for this study was submitted to a review by the University of New Brunswick Research Ethics Board and received the Board’s approval. The copy of the submitted Application for Review of Research Involving Humans for this study is included in Appendix 1. I took all measures to ensure confidentiality and anonymity of individual participants and the companies involved in my study. Before conducting interviews, I obtained consent of interviewed professionals, established confidentiality rules, and provided assurance of anonymity for individual participants in the study, as well as for the companies, and projects. Consequently, companies and participants in this study are not being identified in any report or publication of the results of the study. If there is a reference to specific participants’quotations or ideas, coded names are being used throughout this thesis. The researcher is the only person having access to the data. All research data collected are kept in a secure, locked room. Participants were assured that their participation, in the above described research project, is entirely voluntary. They were informed that they are free to withdraw from the research, and to withdraw any data, pertaining to them, at any time. They could, at any time, refuse to answer any questions, or to discuss any issue. They also could view the data gathered and/or inquire as to the status of the research, throughout the process of the study, by contacting the researcher. A copy of the study 26 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
will be available from the researcher on participant’s request, and a summary of the findings will be sent to the participating companies. 3.4. Data Collection and Analysis Data collected in this research project includes questionnaires, interview notes, taken by the researcher, as well as the researcher’s own observations and documentation. Interviews involve the researcher’s questions and discussions with the participants. The interviews with the participants lasted about half an hour. To conclude the interview, I read for the participant a brief summary of our discussion to ensure that the participant’s input was accurately noted. Cross-checking data from multiple sources, such as answers to questionnaires and interview notes for a particular participant, was done in several cases to provide a multi-dimensional profile of the multimedia development process in a particular setting. The data was collected from projects with various multimedia presentation formats, thus giving me the opportunity to study the development of multimedia for different types of learning, such as online or offline (CD-ROM), as well as for edutainment products and games. Using the data from the interviews, and participant observations, I conducted inductive data analysis of multimedia projects that use different approaches to development team structure and the design process. As a result, after thorough data analysis, I came up with conclusions and suggestions on what could be done to improve the overall quality and visual impact of educational multimedia products. Qualitative data analysis, according to McMillan and Schumacher (2001), is an inductive process of data categorization and pattern identification among some 27 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
categories, where a category is an abstract name that represents the meaning of similar topics. For my research study, I employed an interpretive style of data analysis, rather than a technical style. I conducted inductive analysis of data collected in order to identify natural categories and patterns that emerge from the data, minimizing personal bias, where patterns have plausible explanations that are supported by data collected. Usually, case study research contains description, analysis, and naturalistic generalizations. The analysis is, normally, written in a report format with vignettes to illustrate the researcher’s accretions to the reader (Stake, 1995). A vignette is a verbal illustration of one facet of an issue. However, quite often, case studies are more directed towards description versus analysis and interpretation. They often contain an extensive description o f the case, based on a variety o f sources and research data. Normally, key issues are presented to the reader to illustrate the complexity of the case (Yin, 1994). Several of these key issues are normally analyzed further using supporting and opposing evidence and a naturalistic generalization. By doing this, the researcher develops patterns. These patterns are, sometimes, called “lessons learned” (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Researchers often use tables, diagrams, flowcharts, and figures, to better present the issues involved. Data analysis for this research project includes several phases: discovery analysis in the field, identification of topics that became categories, and, finally, synthesis of patterns among identified categories. 28 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Chapter IV. Production of Educational Multimedia: Personal Experiences In this Chapter, I will describe some of my personal experiences as a member of several multimedia development teams. These experiences, along with ten years of multimedia teaching, within the University and Community College environment gave rise to my interest in the role of the Graphic Artist in educational multimedia development. How does this role affect the visual quality of the multimedia product? The following sections detail my experiences starting with teaching a Computer- Based Training course for multimedia developers, creating graphics and animations as a Graphic Artist/Animator for an edutainment project, and being a Creative Director for an e-learning project. These personal experiences helped me shape this research study and define the problem and research questions. 4.1. CBT Developers Training Course In 1995 I was a member of a team of facilitators that taught an eleven-month Computer Based Training (CBT) Developers course. Computer Based Training is a term that describes the wide range of software and services that offer educational opportunities and training using the computer. CBT training products could be used for Internet-based, CD-ROM, or streaming video training on a computer. The ultimate goal of our CBT training program was to prepare the students for future employment as CBT Developers. In addition to gaining generic skills in CBT development, the participants received specialized training in an area of specialization, such as technical writing (instructional design), computer graphics 29 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
design or programming. The students were thoroughly assessed before the start of the training program. Based on the results of this assessment and their preferred choice of specialization, students were placed into one of the three streams: instructional design, graphic design or computer programming. The course facilitators for all three streams had hands-on knowledge and experience in instructional design, graphic design and programming, as they apply to the development o f CBT products. The instructional design component of.the training course had two clearly defined parts. The first part involved the development of strong technical writing skills through in-depth mastery and understanding of the English language. The second part was concerned with the direct application of these skills to instructional design techniques and to the multimedia product delivery. The graphic design stream was divided into four components, including principles of drawing and design, sketching techniques, 2-D and 3-D animation, as well as mastery of several computer graphics and digital image manipulation software packages. The programming stream had two components: understanding of basic computer programming techniques and training in specific CBT authoring applications. The CBT training course was divided into two distinct phases: the general training phase and the specialization-training phase. The general phase, common to all participants, constituted the first five months of the course, and included an overview of software applications, the CBT development process, and communication technologies. The communication technologies part of the course, in turn, included basics of graphic design, user interface design, learning about the 30 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
various distribution streams of multimedia technology, and creation and integration of various multimedia components such as graphics, voice, sound, and video. The s pecialization c omponent, t hat a Iso t ook five m onths, w as d ivided i nto three streams. The Instructional Design stream incorporated the attainment of good writing techniques and principles, and the applications of instructional design for CBT development. The Graphic Artist stream defined the parameters for good graphic design, and covered computer graphics and animation in both 2-D and 3-D environments, followed by the creation of a specialized portfolio, and a final group CBT project. The Programming stream incorporated the attainment of basic programming skills, and included hands-on training in several of the CBT authoring software packages. The specialization phase of the CBT developers’ course was followed by a four-week practicum to help students acquire hands-on experience in the multimedia development process. The practicum component involved a completion of a real-life CBT development team project. The teams consisted of three people from all three streams of the training: an Instructional Designer, a Graphic Artist and a Computer Programmer. It is important to note that in the previous year’s CBT development course, delivered by another training company, the main focus of the training was on the instructional design side of CBT development, following the common structure of a CBT development team, as outlined in Figure 4.1: 31 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
CBT Development Team V ideo S pecialistP ro g ram m er G raphic Artist P roject M anager Instructional D esigner Figure 4.1. Structure for the CBT Development Team Thus, the main thrust of this previous CBT developer’s training program was on the development of instructional design skills. Prior to the start of the CBT development training course, our team of facilitators had a discussion on what we felt the main focus of this course should be. During the meeting, w e spent a s ignificant amount o f tim e discussing whether the structure of a CBT development team should always be the same, as shown in Figure 4.1, or if there should be some variations. Based on my previous experience working on the edutainment multimedia development project, I argued that our training approach should be more flexible, to accommodate team structures that are different than the one described in Figure 4.1. For example, I argued that the team structure of the edutainment project I participated in was closer to the Creative Design Team structure, such as the one shown in Figure 4.2: Edutainment Product Development Team WriterProgrammer Graphic Artist Project Manager Creative Director Figure 4.2. Structure for the Creative Design Team 32 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
During our lengthy discussions about the course curriculum we decided that, no matter what the structure of the team was, all our students, independently of their area of specialization, should be given a basis in CBT programming, instructional design and graphics design. It is important to underline that, using this approach, even instructional designers from the Figure 4.1 team structure would have a considerable understanding of the issues in graphic design and programming, which would, in turn, facilitate better understanding and decision making on their part. 4.2. Edutainment Product Development - CD-ROM Book Adventure Prole3iur Q.C. Widget ) Wingnut Inspector RD. /jS ttflV L ooking for fun on a rainy old day??? Junior and Sis can show you the way. Come join the journey of mystery and fun And learn how more heads can be better than one. Pay close attention while the verses are told, For clues are revealed as the story unfolds. iMeet Klank the robot and Inspector R.D. And Q.C. Widget, Ph.D. 33 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
They're missing their Wingnut and feeling quite bad. They need YOU to find him —And take him to the lab. Share the excitement with all of the crew. Fantasy Factory is waiting for YOU (Fantasy Factory, CD-ROM book adventure, 1995). This is how the Fantasy Factory, a CD-ROM book adventure for children of ages three and up, begins. The story for this book adventure is written by Marie Resmer. The Fantasy Factory is a great way for children to explore the process of car manufacturing. Children follow along with the story, phrased in an interesting and lyrical verse, as they search for hidden animations, music and sounds. They even help the cute book characters, Junior and S is, to solve the mysteries i nside the Fantasy Factory. Children a Iso m eet Wingnut who, when Junior and Sis find the wheel on which he fits, makes the trusty car XBI alight into flight. Following the book adventure, children can make and animate over 250 cars in the Fantasy Factory, where they can choose parts from different part categories to create a fun and funky car. The Fantasy Factory CD-Rom is a good example of an edutainment product. The word “edutainment” was bom in the early 90s, and was, at that time, defined by edutainment pioneers as an “entertainment with an educational twist” (McCallum- Foumier, 1999). The Marion Webster and Garfield Dictionaries define edutainment as a form o f entertainment that is designed to be educational. T he R andom H ouse Webster's College Dictionary defines edutainment as: television programs, books, and software that are both educational and entertaining, especially those intended for primary school age children. I prefer the McCallum-Foumier’s definition of 34 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
edutainment as a perfect fit of two powerful forces, education and entertainment (McCallum-Foumier, 1999). The Fantasy Factory CD-ROM was created fo
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