Transformation of conventional DL courses into BL courses: Use of multimedia and ID strategies

Eva Y M Tsang and Henry M F Choi
The Open University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong SAR, China

Distance learning provides flexibility for learners with time or physical constraints they can study at their own pace with the aid of various media technologies. Although print-based instructional materials are still playing an important role in many distance learning courses, blended learning, which integrates online with traditional face-to-face class activities, is getting more and more popular and well-received. Blended learning represents a shift in instructional strategy, and the use of instructional design strategies to transform print-based materials into online components of blended learning course is worth exploration.

The present study aims at evaluating the instructional design strategies and display of multimedia components in four blended learning courses, which originated from print-based distance learning courses, adopting instructional design principles in multimedia learning (Mayer 2008). The multimedia components in each of the blended learning courses consist of printed learning materials, online materials, video clips, face-to-face tutorials and their recordings, discussion boards and wiki.

Students' perceptions of the effectiveness of using multimedia components to enhance their learning are examined and evaluated. The objectives of the study are two-fold: (1) explaining how the instructional design helps learners to learn effectively, and (2) evaluating the motivational effects that is, to what degree do the multimedia components arouse learners' interest. Qualitative data drawn from focus groups and an online survey from students who have taken these four courses provide useful comments on the design and their learning experience.