This media-supported learning activity has both advantages and disadvantages. Advantages revolve around the fact that a voice or visual presentation provides opportunities for a variety of non-verbal and supportive stimulations typically impossible in printed material. A lecturer on an audio tape can use voice inflection, word emphasis, and specialized sound effects to add stress or make certain points. A televised course or film on some subject can use several characters in illustrating a point, varied visual effects to add interest, or provide examples of what some product might look like.
However, in terms of disadvantages, it is difficult to create high quality audio or visual materials given typical production costs and the expectations many people have of media. In addition, access to media may be limited due to costs or equipment availability. It also frequently is difficult to hold a viewer's or listener's attention beyond a certain block of time. Subsequently, it may not be possible to provide much in-depth coverage of a topic via some mediated product.
Even given some of the above constraints, there are many films, audio-tapes, slide-tape learning kits, etc. available for the self-directed learner. The fairly recent and growing popularity of video tapes starring numerous entertainers or authorities on an expanding number of topics provides an ever-growing supply of learning materials. In addition, the growing interest in on-line conferencing systems and knowledge bases provides new avenues for stimulation.
As you find media in which you are interested or that are suggested by others as useful learning resources, adapt the interactive reading log guidelines described above for the media log experience. Some people have even decided to use some type of mediated means for recording their thoughts, interactive comments, and reflections. If desired, ask a mentor or colleague to provide feedback to learners in a manner similar to what is provided for reading logs.
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