Impact of Technology and Multimedia

Impact of technology and multimedia on online learning environments

Technology and multimedia are the foundations of online learning; i.e., without technology online learning would not have been possible.  I also believe that, because of technology and multimedia, the quality of learning itself has improved in terms of access to information in numerous formats from infinite resources; including from connections we create with other learners, and thereby, resulting in a more enriched learning experience.  By the same token however, the technology and multimedia selected for a given online course must add-value to the learning experience.  It should not be used just for the sake of using technology. I think the type and purpose of the technology and multimedia used in a given online course will depend on the learning outcomes of the course, and their [technology and multimedia] effectiveness to facilitate the outcomes.

Considerations for implementing technology in an online course

Before implementing technology, the instructor should consider the learning objectives – what type of tools will help my students achieve those objectives? Do my students have the skills required to use the technology? Perhaps they need to practice with the technology prior to using it for a graded assignment, as suggested in (Conrad & Donaldson, 2011). How much time should I allow for the practice? As an instructor, I also need to consider my own skill level in the technology I choose.  Although it is assumed if one is enrolled in an online class, one does have access to technology, as Dr. Pratt noted in (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.) as an instructor I still need to consider accessibility issues.  Do I choose downloadable applications or should it be cloud based? Should I choose video/audio tools requiring webcams and microphones or should I go with text only? Some students may not have sophisticated computers or high speed internet to accommodate every type of multimedia.  And so my goal should be as noted in (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010), to communicate with my students to understand their needs and capabilities in terms of what technology tools to use for what purpose.

Implications of usability and accessibility of technology tools for online teaching

Cooper, Colwell, & Jelfs, (2007) define usability as “the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which users can achieve specified learning (or learning related) goals in a particular environment or with a particular tool or learning resource.” (p. 232), and accessibility as “the ability of the learning environment to adjust to the needs of all learners.” (p. 232).  What I think this means is then, the learning environment needs to accommodate the diverse needs and abilities of all learners—it has to be fair and inclusive, and consequently, aid in narrowing the digital divide.  (Cooper et. al., 2007) further note that, “accessibility and usability impact directly on the pedagogical effectiveness of e-learning systems or resources for all learners. . .” (p. 233).  As an instructor, the technology tools I choose should not be a hindrance, but rather assist my students in effectively achieving their learning goals—the tools have to be both accessible and usable.

Most appealing technology tools

There are several technology tools that appeal to me, including Prezi, VimeoYouTube, wiki, blog, VoiceThread, Conceptboard, digital books (via the iPad), TED Talks, and of course a learning management system, my preference being Canvas.  Regardless of my preference however, if it does not address the learning needs of my students, using the tool is pointless.  The learning needs of my students, always takes precedence, and my obligation is to fulfill those needs in whatever manner I can.

What I learned this week

In addition to learning the significance of selecting the right technology and media tools, (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010) tips and suggested pedagogical uses of the various technology tools will certainly help me implement effective online instructional strategies. I particularly like the breakdown of “when/at what point” during a given course (early, early middle, etc.) each tool is best utilized.

Thank you,



Boettcher, J. V. & Conrad, R. (2010). The Online Teaching Survival Guide. Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips. (pp. 59, 60, 107, 108). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Conrad, R. & Donaldson, J. A. (2011). Engaging the Online Learner. Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Cooper, M., Colwell, C., & Jelfs, A. (2007). Embedding accessibility and usability: Considerations for e-learning research and development projects. ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology, 15(3), 231-245.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (n.d.). Enhancing the Online Experience.

5 thoughts on “Impact of Technology and Multimedia

  1. Marta,

    Great post. You are absolutely about the face that the technology selected should aid learning not impede it. Of the technologies you mentioned, Prezi and Canvas content management system appeal most to me. I like Prezi, because it is dynamic and visually appealing. I am more motivated to pay attention. Prezi also offers the ability to collaborate on group presentations. One of the technologies I really enjoy that I left out of my post are mind maps. Bubbl ( is my favorite of those for its ease of us and free to try approach.


  2. Hello Marta,

    I think that we all took away several aspect from this week’s sources, including what and when technology should be incorporated based on students’ access, usability of tools, and whether the tools will actually help, rather that hinder achieving goals. But one aspect that you have touched upon that I appreciate, yet somehow overlooked is that of the amount of time that an instructor should put into place for practice of technological tools. The tech tools very well may support objectives and students very well may have access, but “usability” is an area that is very much dependent upon time, especially when students need more of it to become proficient when using a technological tool. Great point!!

  3. Marta, the instructor should get to know each student by using an icebreaker exercise. This would help them to determine where the student lives, what their interests are and of course what kind of accessibility to the Internet and experience they have using online learning tools. Also, the instructor should never assume that a student has these magical technology skills and he or she can just do any assignment with whatever they throw at them. When deciding what tools to use, the instructor should remember that it depends on the students; the goal is communicate regularly, to foster a sense of curiosity, to get to the truth, and to provide direction to the students all while being accessible (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).

    Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Franciso: Jossey-Bass.


  4. Hello Marta,

    What a great blog post this week. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on the impact of technology and multimedia in online learning environments. We must remember to give our students options/choices for collaboration purposes (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.). Web 2.0 tools allow for user generated content and that is a main source of online learning.

    Choosing the right technology and multimedia tools for your learning goals for a particular course is essential according to Dr. Pratt as well (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.). I feel just as you do that the learning environment must adjust to the needs of the learners. Making sure learners are comfortable with the tools presented to them in a course and making sure they can use them is vital. Accessibility and usability are important for student success in online learning. I also see that I am partial to Prezi, YouTube and Course Sites. I asked another classmate if they ever used Aggregates which allow facilitators to track postings and updates to multiple student blogs and wikis efficiently (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.). I just find this tool appealing because I have never heard of it and I wondered if you might consider using it in your future as an instructional designer.

    You have posted a great blog this week that explains every aspect technology and multimedia.

    Great job!


    Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (n.d.). Enhancing the online experience.

  5. Marta,
    I appreciate you stating that your preference in technology tools does not matter; the learners’ needs matter the most. Your comment goes along with the tips in our text. “The goal is to develop automatic behaviors using the tools, so it doesn’t require as much conscious thought” (Boettcher & Conrad et. al., 2010, p. 103). With this in mind, an instructor can be more focused on course content and then later add more technology tools.

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