TRANSFORMING CURRICULA FOR ONLINE DELIVERY
Covid-19 has accelerated academia's relationship with online provision. That relationship has initially been driven more by necessity, imperative and expediency than pedagogy and practice, but we are learning fast. In many ways, it is the second great transformation in teaching and learning we've faced in as many decades. The onset of the digital era gave us new software tools like PowerPoint, and there's an important lesson to learn from how we used. By continuing to privilege monomedia content (mainly text) as we have done for centuries, we ignored both digital and cognitive capacity and potential. We commonly drive old analogue monomedia content though new digital multimedia platforms, when those platforms are perfect for multimedia content that is proven to better engage our students' minds. Moving online now should not make that same mistake. We should take full advantage of everything digital capacity has to offer in the sphere of student intellectual engagement - without ever forgetting that teaching and learning is above all else a social relationship.
We see an opportunity to draw together two great forces that can transform how students experience academic content, and ensure that geographic distance does not diminish academic engagement. First, cognitive neuroscience has shown for the last half century that our brains universally have two cognitive channels though which information is absorbed. When we teach using both (instead of privileging only one for text), our teaching is aligned with how our brains are biologically constructed. Second, the movement online relies on and reinforces digital infrastructures ideally suited for multimedia operations. Integrating digital multimedia methods ensures that this move supports cognitive engagement and learning as well as practical expediency.
This is no whim or coincidence. Multimedia Learning methods are supported by half a century of cognitive psychology. They work regardless of culture, gender or locale because they are universally rooted in and mirror our cognitive neurological architecture. We are at a socio-digital nexus: the converging of the most visual era of human existence with the scientifically-established recognition that we learn better from images and words than words alone.
We made a TEDx video that outlines the nature of MML pedagogy and demonstrates the ease with which it can be integrated into online provision.
We have been working with MML methods for 5 years. In that time we have conducted and published longitudinal randomized control group trials across UK HE. This research leaves no doubt about increases in student engagement, active learning and inclusivity when we balance pedagogic delivery between audio-textual and visual content. There's a section below with publications where you can see for yourself.
Images are natively-compatible with online provision, and HE has the digital platforms in place that can exploit that synergy. We can show you how to convert conventional analogue and digital content into engaging online provision that will engage, activate and include across the disciplinary spectrum.
Dyslexia is the most common reported disability in HE, and more dyslexic learners join us each year. Dyslexia nearly universally involves issues with working memory, which is part of the cognitive architecture overwhelmed by excessive text. Integrating imagery into curricula has been shown in longitudinal research to dramatically increase dyslexic learner engagement by between 80% and 100%, something that will become vital as we migrate content online.
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