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The use of multimedia in industries has been extensive, as it has been effective in increasing productivity and retention rates, where research has shown that people remember 20% of what they see, 40% of what they see and hear, but about 75% of what they see and hear and do simultaneously (Lindstrom, 1994). Multimedia is now permeating the educational system as a tool for effective teaching and learning. With multimedia, the communication of information can be done in a more effective manner and it can be an effective instructional medium for delivering information.
Multimedia access to knowledge is one of the possibilities of information and communication technology that has tremendous impact on learning. The instructional media have emerged in a variety of resources, and equipment, which can be used to supplement or complement the teachers efforts in ensuring effective learning by students.
It is recognized that conventional media technologies can no longer meet the needs of our teaching and learning processes; as a result they are being replaced by multimedia technology. This technology provides a learning environment that is self-paced, learner-controlled and individualized.
Multimedia is defined as the combination of various digital media types such as text, images, sound and video, into an integrated multi-sensory interactive application or presentation to convey a message or information to an audience. In other words, multimedia means “an individual or a small group using a computer to interact with information that is represented in several media, by repeatedly selecting what to see and hear next” (Agnew, Kellerman and Meyer, 1996).
Reisman (1994) described multimedia as a ray of “computer-driven interactive communication system, which create, store, transmit and retrieve, textual, graphic and auditory networks of information.
Multimedia could be interpreted as a combination of data carriers, for example video, CD-ROM, floppy disks, Internet and software in which the possibility for an interactive approach is offered (Smeets, 1996; Jager and Lokman, 1996).
Fetterman (1997) also viewed multimedia as those resources used for instruction that include one or more media such as graphics, video, animation, image and sound in addition to textual information. He identified four important characteristics of multimedia as:
- Multimedia systems are computer controlled
- Multimedia systems are integrated
- The information content must be represented digitally
- The interface to the final presentation of media.
The power of multimedia lies in the fact that it is multi-sensory, stimulating the many senses of the audience. It is also interactive, enabling the end users of the application to control the content and flow of information. This has introduced important changes in the educational system and impact the way we communicate information to the learners (Neo and Neo, 2000).
Ogunbote and Adesoye (2006) expressed that multimedia technology adds new dimension to learning experiences because concepts were easier to present and comprehend when the words are complemented with images and animations. Stating further that it has been established that learners retain more when a variety of senses are engaged in impacting knowledge; and the intensity of the experience aids retention and recall by engaging social, emotional and intellectual senses.
The evolution of multimedia has made it very possible for learners to become more involved in their work. With multimedia technologies, they can create multimedia applications as part of their project requirements. This would make them active participant in their own learning process, instead of just being passive learners of the educational content.
Reinsman (1994) expressed that multimedia involves processing, storage, generation, manipulation and retention of multimedia system, and the resources could include text files, pictures, video, audio, databases, archives, library catalogs, course notes, relevant links to various websites and easy access to search engines available on the Internet (Shuell and Ferber, 2001).
A study by Ubogu (2006) supports the view that multimedia resources facilitate access to all human knowledge, anytime, and anywhere in a friendly, multi-modal, efficient and effective way, by overcoming barriers of distance, language and culture, and by using multiple Internet-connect devices.
It is important to say that the use of multimedia technology has great significance in colleges, universities and research institutions in the Western countries. In these countries, the technology is being seen as a key player to development in all ramifications and essential component of education.
However, Babajide (2003) identified different types of multimedia communication, some of which include computer hardwares, computer softwares, public address systems, slides, overhead projectors, opaque projectors, videos, cassettes, audiotapes, cassette recorders, flip, time sequence, streamcharts, Diorama still motion pictures among others.