Integrating Interactive Media in Courses: The WinEcon Software with Workbook Approach

Authors: {'first_name': 'Jean', 'last_name': 'Soper', 'middle_name': 'B.'}


Abstract: Multimedia learning materials are now available in many academic disciplines. With their interactive and dynamic approach they are potentially a means of improving the quality of student learning. They address students' learning needs in a variety of ways and offer students involvement in and control over their learning process, even in classes that are larger than traditional tutorial groups. Effective use of these new materials requires, however, that they be integrated with the rest of the course and that students have appropriate support and guidance in their use.

The teaching process is defined by Laurillard (1993) as forming a link between the world and the learner. Not only do we need good educational materials but we also need to use them in a way that enables students to learn from them. This paper shows how different kinds of courseware features help various individuals achieve their learning goals and how a Workbook can complement software, ensuring students get the maximum benefit from the screens. A combination of materials that offer flexibility in use can meet a variety of different learning needs. It can also incorporate a number of different teaching strategies that are recognised as contributing to the advance of learning.

The examples shown are taken from the WinEcon economics courseware and an accompanying WinEcon Workbook. WinEcon evaluation results are given, together with information on how the courseware is at present being used.

Reviewers: Edith Esch (Cambridge U.), Greg Kearsley (George Washington U.), Agnes Kukulska-Hulme (Open U.)

Interactive elements: The WinEcon interactive sampler presents a substantial amount of interactive material, and the author's audio-visual slideshow introduces some of the key elements of WinEcon's design.
Demos Fully interactive 'sampler' demonstrations of WinEcon (Student and Lecturer samplers) can be downloaded from the WinEcon website (samplers require Microsoft Windows 3.1/95/98). The author also describes key features of WinEcon in an Audio-visual slideshow.

UPDATE: A Web/Java version of WinEcon called Web.Econ is now in development.

Keywords: multimediaworkbookseconomicsevaluationWinEcon 

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