When attempting to deliver any communication, it’s important to recognize that people learn in different ways. Learning styles (visual, auditory, verbal, kinesthetic, social, solitary) have been classified and grouped in various ways, but I think it’s fair to say that most people learn using a combination of styles. Any message, whether it’s a television commercial, new employee orientation, continuing education, or safety training is delivered with the intent that viewers will learn something from it. Presenting a message in a way that appeals to multiple learning styles will allow learners to absorb more of the material presented, improve the effectiveness of the learning experience, and lead to a better-informed customer base or workforce.
When designed appropriately, a rich-media, interactive, online experience can cater to most learning styles. Video speaks to auditory and visual learners, while simultaneously providing motion, sound and sometimes, interactivity. Kinesthetic learners can learn effectively through interactive online demos, or when material is presented in game-like form. Social learners benefit when rich media is integrated with social platforms, enabling users to comment, ask questions, and interact with others.
The combination of online delivery and rich media content which has been tailored to accommodate the learning styles of end users can make for an extremely effective communications approach. Online learners can review material that’s presented in the way they like to learn, they can review the content in privacy without the distraction of other people, and they can move through the material at their own pace.
A study by the University of Manchester found that students preferred full lecture video to other rich media formats (narrated slides, short-video segments or audio podcasts). Participants of this study said that full-length video was like a “comfort blanket”, delivering the richness of the entire lecture, enabling students to view sections they had missed or failed to understand the first time around.
Today’s “learners” are visually sophisticated and have become accustomed to high-end, production – and the younger your customers and employees are, the more important the use of rich media in your communications becomes if you are to maximize your message’s effectiveness. Rich media can be immersive, engaging, and entertaining—and because of its digital nature, its reach and effectiveness can be easily measured.
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