The Power Of Multimedia Learning

The nine forms of intelligence: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalist and existential
The nine forms of intelligence – each one requires different stimulation to fully appreciate learning content.

Why use multimedia learning?

Typically when thinking about multimedia learning, most people tend to think about a course consisting of some text-based learning and perhaps an occasional video. However, true multimedia learning is a complex hybrid of multiple learning styles, aimed at giving the learner a well-rounded understanding over a given topic.

The way in which we understand intelligence and the process of learning is vastly different from the origins of the 20th Century IQ test. Kolb’s learning styles & Gardner’s multiple intelligences is recognition that there’s certainly more than one way of assessing intelligence, and that people learn in many different ways. The theory of multiple intelligences suggests that a ‘piece’ of learning needs to be presented in different ways and from different “angles” to reach everyone effectively. Sensory stimuli –  eg auditory or proprioception  – provided through multimedia components can enhance the emotional impact of the learning so that it is more memorable, especially when combined interactively with microlearning objects.

Multiple intelligences

And that’s what we aim to achieve at skilla through multimedia learning – to provide learners with a coherent understanding of their given topic through a combination of concise visual, literary, tactile, or audio components, all designed to appeal to a wide range of learning styles, whilst also helping learners on their journey, by providing a comprehensive learning experience.

Howard Gardner makes the case that people have eight or nine intelligences (existential intelligence was added to the original eight), all of which are all stimulated in different ways. For full engagement and comprehension  – and most importantly retention – of a topic, then, most of these intelligences (if not all!) need stimulating: that’s why taking an approach that caters to all the intelligences is an inclusive way of deploying learning that can reach everybody equally.

Catering to the multiple intelligences gives the learner a sense of autonomy and ownership over their learning journey, which tends to translate to a higher degree of employee engagement when interacting with course content. For that reason, skilla courses are composed of 10 learning objects, each designed to present or reflect on the topic in a different way to the others.

This approach supports the learner in viewing course content through different methods and lenses, bringing the subject matter to life, whilst also helping appeal to different sorts of learners. Furthermore, reviewing and engaging with bite-size microlearning at regular intervals, represented from different multimedia perspectives, is an effective way of overcoming “the curve of oblivion”, and ensuring that the key concepts are committed to memory.

An infographic explaining how to manage, design and measure engagement. It focuses on dedication, commitment, involvement, emotion, passion, trust, inspiration and stimulation
A multimedia format is crucial in today’s workplace for getting employees engaged in learning – keep hold of this image from our Exploring eLearning event to learn how to manage, design and measure that engagement!

Learning muscles

And that’s our aim with the skilla method at the core of our courses: not to only teach the topic in such a way that it sticks and creates enduring engagement with the concepts, but to also develop the learning muscles that give learners more autonomy, enabling empowerment, so they can make an active and adaptive contribution to making the business a learning organisation.

Not everyone has the same innate desire to learn within their role, so for us it’s extremely important to create course material that gives a sense of learner agency to inspire the learner to want to learn, rather than merely engaging with learning material out of necessity.

Businesses across the globe are having to adapt at a rapid pace in order to keep up with current external pressures, such as the ongoing pandemic, as well as the already fast-paced and increasingly digital context, and the uncertainties and opportunities of the gig-economy.

These changes in the way we work require staff to be more adaptable, more open to change and to cope with new job functions, requirements, procedures and qualifications. This sudden demand for much greater workforce agility is not just limited to national levels either: in many cases large organisations are having to rethink the way their teams work world-wide.

A screenshot from a skilla learning course on multiple intelligences - a quiz asking which intelligence in used in different instances
The modern employee has be to able to adapt to the situation at hand – nurturing all their multiple intelligences will help them do just that, with each intelligence being exercised differently in day-to-day life.

In 2020, then, multimedia learning plays a vital role in ensuring employees are given the tools they need to succeed. Course content that appeals to different styles of learners, and gives a well-rounded overview of the topic increases the chance that the employee will apply the information learned within their workplace.

Learning Cards

Aside from ensuring the content is concìse, appealing and informative to the learner, it’s also important to keep in mind that the channels learners use will also ultimately influence how engaged they are with the learning at hand. skilla’s ‘Learning Cards’ is an illuminating example of how to cater to employees who live their lives through their mobile devices.

‘Learning Cards’ are presented via an interactive mobile app/learning platform that delivers learning in micro-sized chunks – much like physical flashcards – and works wonders for getting people who prefer quick phone activities to understand and engage with key issues, and help them to retain what they learn. They can take courses in a way that appeals to them, completing courses on-the-go, or even on their breaks.

Small changes to the learning cycle, such as adding mobile learning as an option and competition or gamified components, are another excellent way of encouraging learner agility, and instilling a sense of ownership over the learning journey.

Finally, it’s pertinent to note that it isn’t just learners who can directly benefit from multimedia learning: so can the wider L&D and HR community! skilla have been running Exploring eLearning for several years in Italy. Our aim is to conceptualise, and put into practice, innovative ways of delivering meaningful learning experiences, which has culminated in a TV studio-style learning show for L&D professionals, where we can present content in a rich variety of ways and via a diverse array of voices, including discussions and debates, presentations, and futures thinking by learning experts.

In fact, the Exploring eLearning has been so popular that we’re making it an international event! Starting in 2021, skilla will be launching an international edition of online Exploring eLearning, connecting minds and exchange practices in the fast-evolving L&D landscape – make sure you follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to keep up-to-date with this event and all our latest news and views.

written by: Hugo Thomas , 6 October 2020

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