The benefits of using digital media objects for instruction are many and varied. A few are listed below:
- Universal Instructional Design (UID) principles include providing instruction that is equitable for diverse abilities and presentation formats for both instructor and student work that are available in alternative formats, e.g., audio, video, graphical representations (Center on Postsecondary Education and Disability, UConn, 2001, Nelson, 1996, Bowe, F.G., 2000).
- The encoding and decoding steps in information processing models are clarified by using more than one communication channel with a greater chance that the purpose of the message is delivered. Additionally, providing more than one communication channel, i.e., audio, visual, textual, graphical, can expand the meaning constructed between information sources and information receivers. (Shannon-Weaver model, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shannon%E2%80%93Weaver_model
- Visual data or graphical representations can convey linear or hierarchal relationships and much more. They can compare data, offer alternative viewpoints, display evidence, and are more open to interpretation than plain text. They allow viewers to ”contextualize, compare, narrate and recast evidence” (Tufte, 2006).
- Visual displays can provide detail, “reveal data patterns … evoke automatically specific mathematical operations… can attract and hold people’s attention…“ improving the communication of risk and understanding. (Lipkus & Hollands 1999)
- Increasingly companies and businesses are using visual displays and other types of media to communicate complex ideas and processes to a global audience for whom English is a second language. (Flaim, 2008). In the same way, online education programs need to be able to communicate their ideas and concepts with culturally and linguistically diverse groups.
- Views on learning that emphasize pattern seeking, multiple perspectives, parallel processing and the assembling of past experience, situation specific knowledge and new concepts and/or novel uses lend themselves to the use of media as objects. For example, digital media objects would work well with cognitive flexibility theory that encourages the representation of knowledge in various ways and for a variety of purposes and the ability to construct concepts from different perspectives (Boger-Mehall, http://www.kdassem.dk/didaktik/l4-16.htm ).
- The provision of DMOs to students allows them to use them as tools to construct and relate their story and not someone else’s story. A story about African women who were raped that is filmed by an outsider does not deliver as true a story as one that was filmed by the women who had been victimized. (Conely, 2008)