The Impact of Multimedia in Course Design on Students’ Performance and Online Learning Experience: A Pilot Study of an Introductory Educational Computing Course

Torria Davis, Thomas V. Frederick


The creation of multimedia assets for online courses is a time intensive endeavor. Faculty have limited access to instructional designers for this and other course design functions. This study sought to determine if multimedia use in course design contributes positively to student performance or their perception of the online learning experience, after controlling for faculty course design expertise. Students totaling 142 were enrolled in an Introductory Educational Computing Course between 2016 and 2018 designed according to Quality Matters standards based on an informal internal review as well as a course designed according to instructor preferences. Eighty-four students, who participated in the courses designed according to Quality Matters standards based on an informal internal review were surveyed about their perceptions. While it may be of no surprise that multimedia use did not impact student performance directly, based on end-of-point course totals, it did positively influence student perceptions of the online learning experience. A performance gap between ethnicities in this study was not observed, as evidence through end-of-course total points. This may be salient given the prevalence of such performance gaps in most educational settings. Course policies and instructional strategies perceived by students as helpful may be one contributing factor to this lack of performance gap. Furthermore, the use of multimedia in course design was found to reduce cognitive load, as shown by the amount of time spent inside the learning management system. What this means for multimedia use in course design and the student online learning experience concludes this paper. 


multimedia; Quality Matters; community and learner engagement; cognitive load; equitable learning outcomes; performance gap; achievement gap; online learning experience; course design

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