Multimedia learning is the practice of using multiple forms of media such as video and audio combined with other media (like images) in the form of electronic books, websites or podcasts. The key benefits include improved concentration, recall and retention. Here is an article on the ways how multimedia help in education.
When learning something new, it can be harder to understand concepts simply because we don’t have a comprehensive framework for thinking about those topics yet. Having multimedia helps us build that framework when processing information. For example, we might watch a short movie clip on how an engine works. Then make flashcards from the movie. After watching another similar video on how engines work, our framework may have been extended so that we can now think about the concept in more depth. If you are just starting with learning, it’s important to start simple and slowly build up complexity over time as your understanding increases.
It’s not uncommon for people to forget things they learn. This effect is amplified by knowing stored somewhere which makes it less accessible. When we view videos or hear lectures while we are listening, there is a small brain area dedicated to remembering what the speaker said and storing it in memory long enough for us to act upon. If we take this same approach when viewing a book, we automatically store information relevant to the topic into memory without needing to consciously process it. This also means we will retain more concepts when learning through visual methods.
Multimedia allows learners to focus better, increase motivation, and feel part of a larger community of learners. Learners typically find themselves wanting to repeat the experience again and again as they discover different aspects of their subject matter. Learning becomes enjoyable.
In one study researchers found that students who had taken advantage of multimedia during their high school years were significantly more likely to continue studying computer science at university than those who hadn’t been exposed to multimedia before high school.
Improved problem solving
We are all capable of breaking down almost any task into smaller sub-tasks. We use these sub-steps when doing anything complicated such as cooking dinner, washing dishes, building something or learning something new. When we break them down into steps, it’s easier to remember each step individually. When we break down a task into a series of video clips, however, we aren’t forced to think about only the next few moves required for success. Instead, we’re able to visualize the entire solution. This forces us to consider every possible outcome and reduces many errors caused by tunnel vision.
You should investigate multimedia when teaching yourself or others. As I mentioned earlier, you cannot expect to know everything at once. Start slow and keep increasing in complexity until you get comfortable moving around multiple media types.