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25 Posts
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September 8, 2021 - 1:19 pm

As mentioned in my 1983 publication, I strongly stand by my stance that “most current summaries and meta-analyses of media comparison studies clearly suggest that media do not infulence learning under any conditions” (p. 445). In other words, there is enough evidence to show that the use of media does not have any positive results in aiding a student’s learning. Media, I argue, is simply a carrier of information, and hence the curricular content ends up being superior to it, in that it is the key element that brings about learning. What actually does effect learning is some media attributes, or elements of a carrier that piques a learner’s attention, thereby aiding learner. Examples of such media attributes could include zooming or font changes. However, these media attributes, while sufficient for learning, are not necessary conditions of learning. That is to say, if the curricular contect is structured and strong enough, then it can bring about positive learning even without the media attributes.

While this view may be controversial, it cannot be completely ignored. If we need media for learning, then how can we explain educational practices and models that have functioned for centuries, even before technology had advanced the way it has today? Especially in cultures where educational traditions are bound to oral exchanges of knowledge, do we mean to say that this was not learning because there was no media involved?

The common rebuttal to this idea is that there is always some media present to deliver instruction, and this I do agree with. However, I can argue that if any media is sufficient to bring about learning, and not just a specific medium for a particular kind of learning ro curricular content, then the instructional method embedded in the media is what is causing the learning, not simply the medium.

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September 10, 2021 - 7:04 am

Thank you, Dr. Clark, and thank you, Suha, as Dr. Clark for your thoughtful post substantiated with direct quotes and page numbers. You wrote that “studies clearly suggest that media do not influence learning” and that “the instructional method embedded in the media is what is causing the learning, not simply the medium.” I would like to know how you, Dr. Clark, are defining “learning”? It seems to me that there are many ways to define learning in the field of education. Please clarify how you are defining it here as the definition seems central to your argument.

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September 11, 2021 - 12:00 am

I think your questions about educational practices in the past are critical for determining the place of media in education. We cannot say that there was no learning or education before media or technological improvements. Thus, in my opinion, the fact that we need media for learning is not an applicable statement at least to today’s world. Clark was also emphasizing the lack of cost efficiency in learning with media, but today we are living in a world with technological advancements and an unpredictable future. Who knows, a few centuries from now, we might need media for learning.

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September 11, 2021 - 4:22 pm

It was very enjoyable to see your perspective on Clark’s views on the relationship between media and learning. Specifically, I think it is worth thinking about the ideas, “If we need media for learning, how can we explain educational practices that have functioned for centuries without media technology?” and it has important implications on learning in this field.

To add to your rebuttal, when someone agrees on the impact of media on learning, I don’t think that means there was no learning in the past when media intervention did not exist. I believe that we should focus on whether the media that has been emerging can lead to a new level of learning and what it means in this current social-cultural context. So, what I am curious about is, do you think learning changes with the new era and environment, or how do you think current learning is different from knowledge passed down orally in a time when there was no media?

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