Media has opened new dimensions in learning. Now education is no longer a constraint for anyone. Media has brought education to the doorstep of each and every individual. All forms of media- the newspaper, radio, television and the internet are equally important in imparting education. As the technology is progressing, the different educational modules are being channeled through certain community access centers like community radio system, televisions, internet, community multi-media centers etc. Media literacy or education does not only mean to be entertained by media but to learn something from it. As a major part of the learning process is concentrated on children, media plays a significant role to satisfy their intellectual curiosity. Children often learn important things through the media, which change their perspective to life. Moreover, radio has now started to enter into the educational sector commonly known as Community Radio System, which indirectly forms the part of e-learning process. Computer-based education has transformed the traditional offerings of distance learning. This medium of education converts the traditional static resources into interactive and interesting online modules for the learners. The primary motive of the Interactive Learning Modules is to create modular interactive learning materials for the development of education and to demonstrate their effectiveness in university curricula as well as industrial training programs. Interactive Learning Modules, which is another form of media, serves the purpose of both the technical and management corporate trainee people along with the people with learning disabilities. The main aim of this article is to focus on the positive effects of media on learning and how different forms of media have contributed to the development of mankind.
Media and learning: New dimensions
Author: Bipasha Chowdhury
Media is everywhere; it has become a part of our daily life. The media plays a dominant role in the learning process. Its impact is vast in shaping the life of an individual. Media has the potential to shape personalities, change the way we perceive and understand the world and our immediate reality. Though we know that all good things have both good and bad effects, likewise, media too have some positive and negative effects. Moreover, we have seen that a large number of people depend on the internet to collect information, read news, listen to music and download movies, play games and also for work. Newspaper, Radio, Television and the internet- all form part of the media and are important in imparting education. Media offers culture, sports, information, entertainment, current affairs and education. Sometimes the impact of media is very high. For example, children love to watch the superheroes and sometimes try to copy their actions while playing. On the other hand, the impact may not be so vast or immediate. It happens gradually as children see and hear certain messages repeatedly. Some of the devastating advertisements include: Fighting and unnecessary quarrel, cigarettes and alcohol being shown as the symbol of heroism, style and attractive, but not deadly and unhealthy. Moreover, violation of laws is shown as a means to gain justice and sexual action with no negative results, such as disease or unintended pregnancy. In recent years, the impact of media on teaching and learning has increased tremendously. New opportunities are being provided to give a techno-touch to the traditional educational process and system. As the society is becoming media-savvy day by day, the educational modules are being channeled through certain community access centers like community radio system, televisions, internet, community multi-media centers etc.
Media and Children:
Media Literacy: „the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and communicate information in a variety of formats.“ —David Considine
The role of media in imparting education is increasingly on the rise. Media surrounds us and is present in everything. This phenomenon has made learning easier and interesting for children. Television, radio, and computers are gradually entering classrooms and changing the way of learning. With the onset of new technologies and the emerging trends in the global economy, the present day education is changing. Therefore, there is a need to educate ourselves with the emerging wave of technology. It is well known that by learning to read and write, we can be called literate. Similarly, in the 21st century, by gaining knowledge about the different aspects of media, we can also be called media literate, although there are both positive and negative sides of it. Therefore, as we are adopting the good from it, the bad should be avoided. The negative messages could be avoided by developing the skills of questioning, evaluating and analyzing them. This can be called media literacy or media education.
Media literacy or education does not mean to know about media but to learn something from it. Moreover, we find the subjects that we learn in our curricula are also found in media. They may be related to arts, science, different languages, social sciences and health. It also helps to develop critical thinking skills. The students can get a vast exposure to the pop-cultural references. They can get statistics and data from the news, which can be the basis for math and science learning. The teachers can also incorporate media analysis whenever the Internet, television or video are used in the classroom.
The impact of media is vast on children and even on the adults. The intellectual curiosity of a child is satisfied by media literacy. At present, in order to exist in the competitive market, there is always a need to equip oneself with better knowledge and analytical skill. Apart from books, television also helps to improve the Intelligent Quotient and General Knowledge of every section of the society, particularly the children. Media education skills develop the children’s thinking and analyzing power, which in turn, inspires them to make queries and think about the media messages they watch, hear and read. As a child tries to critically analyze the things he reads, likewise he tries to do the same with sounds, actions, moving pictures etc. There are numerous benefits of media on children. The first and foremost effect of media is definitely the accumulation of General knowledge, different dialects and cultures. Television boosts the social awareness of a child to a great extent. Sports channels develop the logical mindset of a child. Cartoon channels keep the children happy. News channels increase the vocabulary of the children and inform them about the positive and negative impacts on the society. It increases the concentration and retention power of a child, which benefits their studies to a great extent.
There are also negative effects of media on children. Children often learn certain things, which change their perspective towards life. For example, if they watch violent scenes on TV, their nature tends to be the same. There are many incidents where children try to imitate the super heroes and it results in death. Studies often get hampered and lapse of concentration occurs due to excessive watching of television. The advertisements shown in the media often captures the mood of the individuals. Generally, girls are very vulnerable and sensitive about their physical image. When an adolescent girl watches the ads that show unless we buy a product or carry the style statement or wash our hair with a specific shampoo and look smart like a slim model, we don’t get respect in the society or get a job. These messages attack our self-esteem and create a negative impact on a child. Two Studies conducted by the South Australia’s Flinders University have revealed that „television advertising featuring idealised thinness negatively affected both the mood and the body image of adolescent girls, with those in the 13 – 15 year age group being more affected“.
On the whole, media has made a tremendous impact on children. Compared to the positive impact, the negative impact is too negligible. The craze of media is such that no one can escape its vibe-be it the adult or youth.
Effect of Community Radio on Education:
Radio has now started to enter into the education sector with the name of Community Radio System. The term Community Radio signifies radio broadcasting with the objective of serving the community by involving members of the community in the broadcast of their programmes. It will help the students to hone their public speaking skills. Though the concept of teaching through radio or television is quite new, but some media or production companies have come forward with such kind of proposals.
Certain questions may crop up about the validity of the relation between radio and learning. The readers may also ask whether the community radio is performing any tasks of e-Learning. If learning is universal and ‘e‘ is used for ‘electronic‘, then why can’t the verbal knowledge spread through electronic media like community radio as a part of ‘e-Learning‘? The advantage of a community radio is that any listener within the range of five to ten kilometers can tune in the radio channel. Community radio is helpful enough for people of the poor and developing countries and even for people living in rural areas without basic amenities like electricity, satellite television, internet etc.
In India, the non-commercial organizations were not allowed to run radio stations. The private organizations with good financial background like Radio Mirchi, Red FM, Big FM, Radio city and educational institutions only get broadcasting licenses. This distinction is little reduced with the Cabinet decision. This move has triggered modest celebrations among a number of community radio, NGOs and broadcast professionals. A number of broadcasting organizations have moved forward to introduce community radio in schools and colleges. With the introduction of this technology, quite a few civil society organizations have come forward to broadcast their educative radio programming over AIR.
Webel Mediatronics, a profit making company, engaged in the development, manufacturing and in the areas of Studio and Broadcasting Systems, Industrial Electronics, Information Technology Applications and various systems for the disabled has come up with the idea of introducing radio in schools. It has already given offers to two schools-Heritage school and GD Birla Center for Education. If the offer is accepted, Webel feels, the radio system can make teenagers conversant with public speaking. According to Gautam Burman, Chief Executive Officer of Webel Mediatronics, „Schools feel that perfection in public speaking can only be achieved through practice. The community radio system will give students the opportunity to develop their communication skills and expand their knowledge base“.
This community radio can also help to organize counseling sessions, prior to any board or entrance examinations. Moreover, this kind of radio will help students to revise their classroom teaching, which they may forget. The health and hygiene issues can be addressed; lifestyle problems can also be solved though these programmes and even an awareness campaign by experts on HIV/AIDS can be transmitted. CRS can also help to notify parents about important announcements of schools. Burman added that „Often after exams, students seek informations in scholarships and admissions in other universities or courses. All such queries can be clarified through community radio. Eminent educationists can be invited to the studio to deliver lectures. Radio browsing will soon become popular among Gen Y“. Any listener within the range of five to ten kilometers can tune into the radio channel of the schools. It can also familiarize the local students with the similar syllabus of the other schools. There are schools that have allocated a budget of Rs.1 crore for students‘ development programmes in the next few years by incorporating Radio programmes.
The impact of community radio is massive and its impact is felt on every section of the society. With the passage of time everyone has learnt to acknowledge its positive impact on individuals.
Effects of Media Boom on distance education:
Distance education is often defined as „institution-based, formal education where the learning group is separate, and where interactive telecommunications systems are used to connect learners, resources, and instructors“ (Schlosser and Simonson, 2002).
The original distance education by correspondence has been upgraded by twenty-first century technology. Distance education has vastly benefited from the media boom with telecasts and broadcasts limiting the dependence on the written word. In the past, distance education was primarily delivered through mail and was called correspondence courses. The medium of instruction was mainly through books, paper documents and other printed materials. Contrary to classroom learning, instructions provided by professors or teachers were delivered in print to the learners who didn’t have the opportunity to have interactive classes. Queries and notes were interchanged between teachers and students and vice versa. But now the trend is fully replaced by colourful computer-based graphic resources. Computer-based education has changed the traditional offerings of correspondence education. This medium of education converts the traditional static resources into interactive and interesting online modules for the learners. Moreover, online-learning retains most of the characteristics of the classical form of distance learning, while offering more sophisticated learning materials at a much reduced rate.
At present, the concept of distance education with the help of media has gained wide popularity. The media boom with telecasts and broadcasts has to a large extent limited the dependence on the written word. Moreover, with the emergence of the Internet as a global media, the concept of distance learning has been revolutionized. From the age old days, distance learning was mainly provided through correspondence. But the introduction of the internet has changed the concept of distance learning to a great extent. At present, distance learning programmes are increasingly being delivered through computer technologies but the traditional media is not totally obsolete as it helps in effective learning. We can define quality online education as a people-oriented, instructor-led activity, where the level of communication should be comparable with on-campus education. Due to the connectivity of the internet, distance education is often called online learning because the Internet-connected computers bring the teacher and learner face to face, which substitutes/replaces classroom learning. Moreover, the Internet has also facilitated the students to study online from any location and at any convenient time.
There are numerous factors which have contributed to the increasing popularity of the distance education through media. With the introduction of online learning in universities, distance learning has gained immense importance. Online learning has assumed the role of an important media for imparting distance education. It also went to the extent of providing quality online courses which have become almost comparable to the traditional classroom learning. Now students can get access to a broad spectrum of disciplines from any location. With the mingling of online learning and distance education, education is no longer a constraint for any class of the society.
Distance education can also be termed as Interactive Telecommunications system. Interactive telecommunications systems broadly mean that the instructors and the learners use a variety of technological resources while teaching and learning from a distance. Now-a-days, many universities have come up with the idea of transferring its on-campus learning into online learning.
Now-a-days, we see an excessive use of media in education. Media has made its presence felt everywhere, be it by television, radio or computers, the most popular medium of imparting education. Unlike the past, education and examination is no longer monotonous. With the introduction of media, education has assumed a different role. Now-a-days, we can see that before the board exams or any competitive exams, different medias like television, radio etc. come out with different education-related programmes to help students to deal with their study materials. These media channels rope in different intellectuals, professors and teachers of different institutions to guide the students with their valuable suggestions and give them necessary moral boost to cope up with their burden of studies.
The most important advantage of online distance education is to earn a degree from one’s home or workplace. In traditional distance learning, interaction is limited to a certain point and feedback from the other side is often delayed because of slow postal systems. It has helped a large number of people to pursue education, who don’t even have the time to enroll for regular courses. Moreover, it is usually easier and less competitive to obtain admission for the online courses. Moreover, in case of online distance courses, learning is more fun and interactive. It is also flexible. It is possible to incorporate charts, maps, graphs, moving images, slides, video clippings and even audio recordings with the course material. It helps to understand the entire syllabus without the help of a teacher. The students are able to interact with their peers through online class projects, e-mails and also with the help of online conferencing. This interaction with the help of media using e-mail, conference calls and chat makes learning easier and entertaining. It substitutes the face-to-face experiences of traditional learning. The availability of online libraries with their huge collection of books has also made the learning process easier and worthwhile. Speaking about the economic side of online distance learning, it is seen that most of the time, the expense of a regular course is much higher than the online courses. The media-related online distance learning is relatively economical than the traditional class-room learning. Nevertheless, keeping in mind its positive effects on individuals, these computer-based distance education continues to grow.
Role of Interactive Learning Module in Education:
Interactive Learning module is another form of online distance education. The main idea of interactive learning is to provide educational guide through on-line education. In this module, support learning is available on a 24/7 clock and delivered from class-room to anywhere and at anytime. The Interactive Learning module generally engages the learner and the teacher in effective instructional communication without disturbing the interaction. Interactive learning modules developed by corporate media companies are becoming increasingly popular. Now-a-days, the Interactive Learning Module materials are used in management courses, undergraduate and graduate engineering courses, as well as technical and management corporate training programs. The prime aim of the Interactive Learning Modules is to create modular interactive learning materials for the development of education and to demonstrate their effectiveness in university curricula as well as industrial training programs. Thus, the acquaintance of knowledge is maximized through the advent of Interactive Learning Module.
Now-a-days, we have seen that interactive learning modules developed by different corporate media companies are becoming increasingly popular. Witnessing the importance of Internet, innumerable training players are offering their training online. These modules are helpful to provide value-added services and equip professionals to work in a dynamic and competitive environment. Interactive design tools help the learners to explore the activities of product development and emphasize on the integration of design, manufacturing and marketing concepts. Moreover, interactive learning provides solutions for evaluating and monitoring of the learner’s progress.
Like most of the media houses, ZEE has also come up with the concept of online education, which they named as ZEE Interactive Learning Systems (ZILS). ZILS generally provides its online courses through a Learning Management System. According to Rajendra Raju, executive vice president, corporate services of ZEE Interactive Learning Systems, „this offering not only facilitates in Synchronous and Asynchronous learning but also provides Customized Training Solutions based on individual needs and access to rich resources and expert support“. Apart from ZEE, another company which came forward for making faster its training market is Xansa Websity (formerly known as IIS Websity). It planned to focus on the corporate IT training market through its Learning Management System called the ‘Quality Learning System‘ (QLS). Apart from ZEE and Xansa, Oracle also thought of introducing an e-learning methodology for its existing and future courses through the Oracle Learning Network (OLN). According to SV Krishna, head-Asia Pacific division, Oracle OU, „The purpose is to disseminate information anytime, anywhere and help in providing to those who are really in need of it. On OLN, one is learning from Oracle and with Oracle. The corporates can choose their specialized module, rather than undertaking the whole course. And the whole offering becomes more customized“.
Interactive Learning Modules are designed not only for the technical and management corporate trainee people but also for the people with learning disabilities. With the advent of technology, physical barriers are no longer a constraint for leading a normal life. Technology can abate any learning disabilities. It can also make learning accessible for the people with disabilities. Interactive Learning Modules are particularly helpful to people with learning disabilities.
With the transformation of a new era, we have seen that the concept of E-learning, supported by the web-based learning environments. This could help people with learning disabilities or social difficulties to adjust with normal contemporary life and knowledge-based curricula. Till now, the society and the media have not thought about the impact of computers on the lives of the disabled in general and the visually-challenged in specific. Special schools were built for their education. But the federal ‘Individuals with Disabilities Education Act‘ (IDEA) made it mandatory for the schools to educate children with disabilities in general classrooms.
The Interactive Learning Guide for the disabled, coupled with the application of technology in education provides better understanding of theories, their applications and identification of alternate solutions for them. This advanced type of learning for the disabled has helped them to get over their weaknesses and start a new life afresh with better knowledge as their strength. A teacher, principal, specialist or a paraprofessional can help a child with learning disability to achieve full potential by helping them to adapt the online interactive education guide. Therefore, education is no longer restricted to the normal persons, but it has crossed the barriers and enlightened the life of every individual irrespective of their disability.
From the above inferences, we can rightly conclude that the effect of media is vast on the life of each and every individual. With the on-going development of information and technology in the society, media has given particular attention to the need of education and cultural diversity and promoted media consciousness among individuals. Media has entered in every sections of our daily life- be it in education, news, entertainment, culture, sports, etc. Last but not the least, media has opened a new dimension and gave a new meaning to education. Education has become more entertaining like never before.
by Bipasha Chowdhury