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Student Engagement: Creating Effective Multimedia Content for the Online Learning Environment

Keeping up with the latest technical advancements for use in classrooms has posed numerous challenges for educators to overcome. However, these new approaches have created a seemingly infinite number of new ways for tech-savvy teachers to engage their students. Students have unlimited access to high-quality, engaging online content, whether it be at home or on their mobile devices. To engage students in this new environment, multimedia course content must reflect the quality of the digital media students are consuming beyond the classroom.

The Multimedia Department at Hekademia’s sister company, Virtual High School, holds the philosophy that course content is of the utmost importance. Multimedia content created in our studio enhances and improves the regular course content by providing material that appeals to students who have unique learning styles. By offering content in a platform that meets the differentiated learning needs of students and by delivering the quality of multimedia content students have come to expect, we are able to engage our learners and technically minded instructors on multiple levels.

Effective multimedia content is essential if we are to have full student engagement. When creating multimedia content, we keep course videos as focused as possible, emphasizing only the most pertinent pieces of information with auditory and visual cues. For example, we find that students learn best when we break down a multistep process into discrete phases and dedicate a video (albeit a short one) to a single step of a process at a time. This allows students having difficulty with one of the steps, to be able to review that video and to avoid the need to review a longer video explaining all of the steps. This approach also benefits students who have specific learning challenges as it allows them to adjust the pace of learning to their own needs and to manage the concepts more effectively.

Multimedia content and access to it must be responsive. In our increasingly mobile world, students obtain information constantly on their mobile devices and tablets. Educational content which isn’t mobile friendly is less likely to be viewed. If effective multimedia content is available, but students cannot access it, it can’t be engaging. Thus, mobility is attractive to students because they participate constantly with the technology we use in our instruction. To achieve this end, we render our videos to be optimally useful for students to use with their own devices. This blend of attractive content, attractive design, and state-of-the-art accessibility and operation ensures that each student will have full accessibility to our courses.

Lacing multimedia content throughout our lessons gives students the option to spend more or less time watching and reviewing particular portions of their courses. Students can skip, pause, or rewind course videos at any time, giving them more time to spend on areas that require reinforcement. This flexibility and personalization allows students to customize their course experience and gives them the power and autonomy needed to take control of their learning.

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