Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Multimedia Applications: Engaging the Learner

Silvia Fajardo Flores, Kathy Lynch, Julie Fisher.

Educational multimedia applications have become popular and widespread as an aid in the learning process for learners of all ages. The interactivity embedded in many of these applications encourages ‘learning-by–doing’, and engages the learner in the activities presented to them. Of the interaction styles used in the design of multimedia applications today, the most popular is that of direct manipulation.

This paper reports on a study that examined the use of direct manipulation in a simple educational multimedia application exploring the mathematical concept of area. Specifically, the study aimed to test the effectiveness of the direct manipulation technique of ‘drag and drop’ in terms of user engagement with the software. The study was conducted with school age children ranging from ten to twelve years of age, who were given the opportunity to calculate or discover the area of simple objects. The application allowed the students to calculate the area of an object using their preferred method of interaction style.

The results of the study showed that the children were engaged in the software, and that the use of ‘drag and drop’ played a significant role in this engagement.

Findings from this study are important for those who make decisions relating to the design of multimedia applications for primary aged children, in particular where learning is paramount. The selection of an interaction style and thus the product design has multiple inferences, not only for the learner’s engagement with the product, but in the learner’s use, acceptance and the overall effectiveness of the multimedia product.


Silvia Fajardo Flores  (Mexico)
Project Coordinator and Lecturer
Centre for the Production of Educational Resources (CEUPROMED)
University of Colima

Silvia Fajardo Flores has worked as an educational multimedia developer for the last seven years. Her research interests are in interface design, usability issues and evaluation of educational materials. She is lecturer in the Faculty of Telematics, at the University of Colima, Mexico.

Kathy Lynch  (Australia)
Senior Lecturer
School of Information Management & Systems, Information Technology
Monash University

Kathy Lynch has worked as an educational multimedia developer, evaluator and lecturer as well as research and teaching interests in interface design and collaborative work. She is senior academic in the Faculty of Information Technology and Deputy Director of the Centre for Educational Multimedia in the Faculty of Education, at Monash University, Australia.

Julie Fisher
Associate Professor
School of Information Management & Systems, Information Technology
Monash University

Julie Fisher has been conducting research in the area of systems development for the last five years. The research has included work in examining the systems development life cycle and how issues of usability might be more appropriately addressed within the development process. Her work has also included examination of the development of e-commerce websites, again addressing issues relating to usability.

  • Educational Multimedia
  • Interaction Design

(30min Conference Paper, English)