Criteria — What Makes Good Multimedia?

The criteria for determining if a multimedia resource is also a valuable learning resource is similar to the criteria you would use to assess the value of other information sources. When you or your students are looking for multimedia resources:

  • Determine if the resource is closely connected to the learning outcomes or objectives of the topic.
  • Look at the accuracy of the resource, including if the information is error free or if an expert or other teacher has validated the resource.
  • See if the creator of the resource is identified to see if the source has authority or is a reputable publisher.
  • Determine if the resource is without bias or rhetoric.
  • Look for the creation date of the resource to determine if the information is current.
  • Look at the depth at which the topic is covered and the context for which the resource was designed. All resources on a particular topic are not suitable for every educational context or level. Determine if there is anything included in the resource that lessons the value of the resource for the context in which it will be used.
  • Look for cultural issues. A vast majority of the resources have been created for an English speaking audience by someone in North America, Europe or Australia and may introduce cultural issues or may not be culturally relevant.
  • Determine if the resource is engaging or interactive. Think about the difference between a resource that is engaging versus engaging and interactive.

In addition to the criteria listed above, which address the accuracy and appropriateness of media content for your learning context, you should consider Richard Mayer’s research on multimedia. Visual and auditory content that complement each other (temporally and, if graphical, spatially congruent). If you are using visuals with sound then the audio track should coincide the the presentation of the appropriate visuals. You should not use both an auditory track and text. While it is a good idea to implement universal design by having a text option, the best design piece will allow learners to select audio or text.

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