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How to Leverage Multimedia to Increase Learner Engagement in Adult Learning

Leveraging multimedia in your learning programs is about more than just lights, camera, action. You need to consider the type of experience you’re trying to deliver and how a multimedia will enhance it. If your goal is to make a piece of content more interesting and increase member engagement, a well-designed material can do that. Learning material that is designed in order to promote and ensure learners’ engagement can contribute to their active participation and increase the effectiveness of educational activities addressed to adults.


Understanding the Learner

It’s well known that everyone learns differently. Adults’ learning styles and personal learning pace have a significant role towards an effective learning process. Some people are visual learners who prefer images to help them understand concepts. Auditory learners retain spoken information best and often favor traditional lectures and discussion settings. Readers read and write to lock in knowledge. Kinesthetic learners absorb information by doing and practicing. The exciting thing is that, although we often align ourselves with one or two of these types, we learn best when all of them come together.

Adult learning entail the drawing of some important general conclusions for the design of multimedia learning material for adults:

  • The content organization must have a clear modular structure and an appropriate graphical design.
  • Self-directed and personalized learning should be promoted through content’s structure and presentation.
  • The content must promote enhancement of the learner’s immediacy and interaction with it.

Knowledge structures’ comprehension can be facilitated by the aid of visual and verbal clues that guide the learner to create appropriate reading paths for meaning-making. Visual clues can be created by highlighting important information through headings, captions, font size, bullets, arrows etc. Verbal clues that signal the presence of a particular knowledge structure can be created with expressions like “first step”, “second step” (which signal a sequence or a procedure), or “because”, “as a result”, “consequently” (which signal a principle or a process) etc.


If you think about the best video modules or animations you’ve seen, you will probably notice that they include around three of those learning mechanisms. For this reason, 86 percent of viewers turn to YouTube to learn new things and more than 70 percent use it to solve a job, study, or hobby-related problem. According to a Think With Google study, YouTube makes people feel smarter, more inspired, and prepared for a task, particularly because a well-done video will cater to the visual, auditory, reader, and kinesthetic learner.

People turn to video platforms to fix something in their home or car when the tutorial video include an image of what they’re working on (visual), dialogue or narration about the steps that need to be taken (auditory), captioning or labeling of the various elements (reader), and encouragement to pause the video and complete each action along with the video (kinesthetic).

The question then becomes, how do you incorporate video into your association’s learning experience?

Building the Content

First, you need to consider which portion (or portions) of the curriculum can be delivered via video. Some material will be better served as PDFs or gamified learning experiences while other material is perfectly suited for the medium. Some examples are:

  • online instructor-led modules
  • tutorials
  • role plays
  • testimonials
  • animations.

The real magic, however, happens when you leverage multimedia for two-way communication between the individual delivering the content and the learner. This could be through more traditional mediums such as webinars or presentations that incorporate discussion forums but could also include modern tools that leverage the power of multimedia to assess specific skill sets for your learners.

The idea here is to have multimedia become an extension and enhancement of the larger learning program, allowing you to build rapport, familiarity, affinity, and trust in a short period of time.

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