Five media forms (and how they can be adapted to e-learning)

Last week I posted on Exploring e-learning in all its forms, which Mark Bethelemy elaborated on in his post From formal courses to social learning. Mark referenced a number of alternative models which somehow led me to Diana Laurillard’s conversational framework. I was particularly taken by Diana’s five media forms (the descriptions are mine):

  1. Narrative media: explain, demonstrate, describe
  2. Interactive media: facilitate reflection, check understanding, encourage exploration, provide feedback
  3. Communicative media: allow exchanges between learners and between learners and tutors
  4. Adaptive media: facilitate experimentation and practice
  5. Productive media: allow learners to articulate, express, demonstrate understanding

I was interested to see what light these categorisations would shed on my understanding of the wide range of learning technologies currently at our disposal. The following table is my attempt at allocating technologies to each of the five categories. I added a column to explain whether e-content would be an input to the activities involved or an output.

Media form Example learning technologies The role of content
Narrative media Online articles and papers, slide shows, podcasts, online videos, software demos Content is the input
Interactive media Scenarios, quizzes, games, e-tutorials Content is the input
Communicative media Forums, virtual classrooms, email Content is an output
Adaptive media Simulations, intelligent tutorials Content is the input
Productive media Wikis, blogs, text and media editors Content is an output

I’m not sure yet whether all this has moved things along, but at least I have got it out of my system.

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