Media Equivalency Debate

One of my team members is working on her graduate degree in learning technology, so I asked her to present in our weekly instructional design team meeting on the great media debate, which is built on the premise that two courses using the same instructional design but presented via two different media (say, one classroom and one online) should give identical instructional results.

One thing missing from the debate, I think, from a corporate training viewpoint, is whether the lack of significant difference in results still holds when there is no accountability. In other words, will learners act differently in terms of engagement in a classroom, where everyone can see them, versus sitting alone at their desks where no one can see them while they watch an equivalent webcast, particularly if they are a professional with lots of distractions around them (email is only a click away) and no direct accountability for the content being presented (no test)?

I don’t have any direct evidence suggesting this condition would expose a media inequivalency–in fact, in very limited testing I’ve found media equivalency holding–but it would be something that would be interesting to test further.


One thought on “Media Equivalency Debate

  1. Ellen

    I venture that while an on-line course is presented the same way every time (unless some branching/learner control has been built in), not all classroom presentations are equal. Is there a PPT, or just the instructor talking? Are student questions welcomed or resisted? How about interactions among students?


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