Rich Media – What is it?

In an effort to discuss my assigned topic Using Rich Media Wisely for my course LT8000: Foundations of Instructional Design and Technology, I find it necessary to first define what it is.

Rich media is defined as instructional programs that incorporate high-end media such as video, animation and audio (Clark and Mayer, p. 309).   It is used not just for marketing but for content in training materials, technical documentation and web content. From what I gather, using rich media to deliver information can improve customer engagement, flatten the learning curve, reduce support requests and can ultimately drive greater user satisfaction and loyalty.  So if this stuff is so great, why aren’t we splattering more of it all over the place?   Hmm.  I guess that what I am about to find out, right?

As a marketing consultant, proposal writer and web content developer it has always been my job to find the best way to communicate… to get the point across…. to sell my client’s brand.  What is great about what I am learning in IDT is that there are features in rich media that if handled properly should promote learning.  If not handled properly… well, then some chosen media features may actually become distractions to learning for some learners.    Chapter 32 in the text explores various topics related to Using Rich Media Wisely including How People Learn, Do Visuals Improve Learning, among other topics.

I want to note that while preparing this post I kept getting tons of hits on “rich media ads” in Google search.  I guess the biggest distinction between “rich media” and “rich media ads” is that one primarily has mostly to do with rich media for online ad sales and the other rich media for instructional design.

Below is an interesting image I found by Wikipedia that visually describes the difference between a text ad, a standard display ad and a rich media ad.

rich media image


Until my next post….happy learning!

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