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Why use multimedia?

Video, audio and multimedia offer powerful means of communication.

They are very good for

  • showing what things look like, how they move and how they change
  • keeping an audience's interest,
  • establishing personal contact
  • establishing the identity and academic credibility of a speaker
  • communicating the speaker's enthusiasm for the subject
Moving pictures are excellent for showing how things change or how something is done, for establishing a context for information (such as a landscape or a working environment) to make it easier for an audience to relate to what you are saying.

In education they are useful for:

  • recorded or broadcast lectures
  • bringing in an expert speaker from a distant location
  • demonstrating processes that learners may not otherwise have the opportunity to see (such as a rare surgical technique)
  • demonstrating techniques that learners will have to try themselves later (such as setting up laboratory equipment)
  • recording students' performances to enable feedback and promote reflection
  • bringing the real world into the classroom

For research they are useful for:

  • dissemination of results through:
  • recorded or broadcast conference presentations and discussions
  • demonstrating new techniques to colleagues,
  • publicising and promoting research outcomes to related professionals and to the general public
  • and for capturing data - such as focus groups, interviews, behavioural observations.

Creating video/audio teaching material can be quick to do, especially if it uses a recording of an event that is already taking place. However there are 2 main difficulties with using multimedia:

1) it is relatively complex technically

2) it involves large amounts of data, and so needs fast, powerful computers with a lot of storage capacity and fast networks for transmitting.