Teaching and learning research methodology from interactive multimedia programs: Post graduate students' engagement with an innovative program

Year: 1996

Author: Lidstone, John, Lucas, Keith

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In spite of increasing levels of faith in, and support for innovative teaching strategies based on highly sophisticated computer based technology such as hypermedia, which is based on the contention that Interactive Multimedia (IMM) programs have the potential to permit learners to navigate their own paths through the material and to engage the program at various levels of sophistication, little is known about the range and nature of human responses when seeking to construct meaning through interacting with such materials. This study was designed to contribute to the meagre professional literature concerning learners' engagement with IMM programs by analysing the nature and level of engagement of pairs of graduate students as they interacted with a hypermedia program that provides an introduction to qualitative research methodology. The interpretative research design of this study utilised a range of natural protocols (video and audio recordings, students' written records, transcripts of interviews and focus group discussions) to capture the 'lived' experiences of participants. Students employed various strategies to navigate the program, from haphazard to quite sophisticated searching, and both oral and written responses ranged from verbatim repetitions to prOcis and notes. Among the commonly encountered patterns of engagement with the substantive content of the program were: discussing, questioning, elaborating, qualifying, linking with prior knowledge/experience, relating to planned research and criticising aspects of the program. The majority of students in this study rated the experience to have been both enjoyable and conducive to meaningful learning.