What is Rich Media?

What is rich media and what are the advantages of using it as an educational tool to create effective learning materials?

Rich media is digital, dynamic, and interactive.  It can include streaming videos and lectures, audios, flash animation, 3D objects, edu-games, widgets, and simulations.  For learning materials such as textbooks, it can also incorporate interactive exercises and tests, homework assignments, as well as links to academic level library resources, current research papers and journal articles.

Rich media involves dynamic motion that can be user initiated and controlled such as a prerecorded webcast coupled with a synchronized slide show; or dynamic motion occurring over time like streaming video newscasts (http://www.washington.edu/accessit/articles?1146).  Rich media can be downloaded or embedded within a web page, electronic textbook, or other learning materials.

The concept of media rich electronic materials offers interesting and evolving opportunities for teaching and learning.  Well designed, interactive media rich materials:

  • May be more student-centered
  • May be more engaging for digital natives
  • May facilitate knowledge acquisition and retention
  • May facilitate consturctivist/inquiry-based learning
  • May provide instant feedback

Can you think of other ways media rich materials might enhance the student learning experience?

The creation and use of rich media materials such as e-textbooks as a learning tool is growing. According to the 2011 Pew Internet Digital Revolution and Higher Education report, "textbooks used by college students are becoming increasingly high-tech."  Nearly "two-thirds of college presidents (62%) inticipate that 10 years from now, more than half of the texbooks used by their students will be entirely digital.  Among the leaders of four-year private colleges, 60% say that 10 years from now more than half of the texbooks used by their students will be entirely digital." (p. 15)