Supported by Ministry of Human Resource Development Government of India
and Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia.
The education sector in most developing countries is faced with the challenge of providing access to education to a very large young population. In its efforts to reach out to diverse learner groups spread over small towns and remote areas with poor infrastructure, a variety of learning materials are increasingly being used, both in conventional and open and distance learning systems and in formal and non-formal contexts.
While print is the mainstay of learning materials in most educational systems, the recent developments in technology have facilitated the use of non-print materials dramatically both in terms of volume and variety.
Earlier limited to audiotapes and videocassettes, the convergence of technologies has brought in multimedia which combines audio, video, text, graphics, animations in exciting and interactive formats in both online and off line modes. These Multimedia Learning Materials (MLM) have the potential to make significant contributions to the ideal of tailoring education more closely to individual learner needs and abilities.
The developments in technology have also simplified the production equipments leading to reduced costs. These factors combined with the availability of software generation packages have made the production process easier, encouraging a large number of agencies to enter the field of MLM creation.
MLM that are designed using appropriate pedagogy and instructional strategies can be engaging, fun and help achieve desired learning outcomes. These can be used for a variety of learners in diverse formal, non-formal and informal contexts – learners in schools and colleges or drop outs, adults at home or work place and so on.
MLM form a key component in e-learning and distance learning as well.
The world over, large investments are being made on developing MLM for teaching and learning resulting in a great increase in the quantity of MLM produced but not necessarily better quality. This can lead to a situation where the users/learners can end up spending money on low quality products or even worse, using unauthenticated, inaccurate educational materials. As the importance of multi-media based learning is only likely to increase, it is essential that attention is paid to its quality.
The guidelines for assurance and assessment of quality of MLM so developed have to be useful and usable across the board. The Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia
(CEMCA) has taken a first step in this direction due to the impetus provided by the CEMCA Advisory Council whose members include representatives from Malaysia, Pakistan, Maldives and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India. The Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia is a key collaborator in this project.