Multimedia Design & Development

University of Manchester, Manchester Institute of Education, MA Digital Technologies and Communication in Education.

According to many writers researching the use of multimedia in learning, learning is best facilitated when both words (written and audio) and pictures are used in learning design. On this unit we’ll explore how we can combine words and pictures to enhance learning. In doing so we’ll draw on relevant literature in educational pyschology and learning design.


We’ll evaluate different types of pictures from static images to dynamic images, in videos, and in augmented, mixed and virtual reality. We’ll explore the various roles that combinations of pictures and words can play in different learning settings. You will have the opportunity to evaluate multimedia learning materials of your own choosing and/or to design your own multimedia learning materials for a given learning context.


We take both a creative and also a critically evaluative standpoint, looking at whether the use of multimedia technologies really facilitate learning and whether the same learning aims can be achieved without the use of such technologies. We also critically analyse the use of multimedia technologies from a social and environmental perspective. How accessible are high-end multimedia technologies in many learning contexts? What are the environmental impacts of these technologies and how should we take account of these impacts in multimedia learning design?


The unit will first introduce you to key concepts and principles in multimedia learning, drawing significantly on the work of the educational psychologist Richard Mayer. We’ll also think about the potential range of multimedia tools that can be used in multimedia learning.



In our second thematic focus we evaluate the characteristics of static pictures in learning, their role in learning and facets of design with static pictures. We look at visual literacies in learning.


You will develop understandings of types of pictures, how static pictures can be combined with words and how more visual approaches, as discussed for example by Matthew Peterson to learning design can help learners.


In our third thematic focus we move to augmented reality pictures and evaluate their potential in learning. We evaluate a range of apps such as this BBC App on ancient civilizations. We also evaluate the use of hypermedia in learning. You will have the opportunity to design augmented reality materials and to evaluate that design.


In our fourth thematic focus we explore the role of audio in learning and at the ways in which audio (spoken words and sounds) can enhance learning. You will have the opportunity to create an audio recording for learning and to work with audio editing software- in this case audacity editing software


Our final thematic focus is on video and animation. We explore the roles of video and animation in learning, consider how the wealth of video material available e.g. via youtube and similar can be used to facilitate learning and consider aspects of video and animation design for learning contexts.


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