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Compare and contrast the effects of hypermedia


Technology is changing the way lessons are taught. A wide variety of multimedia applications teaching various core competencies are now available either freely or commercially. The World Wide Web (WWW) is also becoming a very powerful tool for teaching, allowing teaching materials to be enhanced by hyperlinked audio, video, interactive objects and animations.

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The purpose of this document is to compare and contrast the effects of multimedia and hypermedia web-based lessons. It begins by distinguishing the difference between a pure multimedia and a hypermedia web based lessons.



Multimedia is in essence a presentation of information that incorporates multiple media such as text, audio, graphics, and animation (CITEd Learn Center, 2007). Multimedia could be carried in any form and it need not be computerized. It may come in the form of video tape, video CD, DVD or some other form of digital media. Since computers offers one of the most seamless form presentation, multimedia are normally associated with computers. Multimedia presentations are normally distributed in the form of CDROM that can be played live or installed in a computer.


Hypermedia refers to hyperlinked multimedia—the linkage of text, audio, graphics, animation, and/or video through hyperlinks (CITEd Learn Center, 2007). An example would be a hypermedia study guide that offers illustrated textbook content hyperlinked to web-based video and other content, glossary entries, and comprehension questions. Other hypermedia applications for the classroom include supported digital reading environments and lessons. Technically, a hypermedia is also a form of multimedia but for discussion purposes let us use hypermedia for hyperlinked multimedia, and use multimedia instead for the other forms of multimedia presentations.


Hypermedia offers more power in terms of integrating curriculum contents. Through interactive objects, it can be used to add attractiveness through user interaction. It can even be applied in the form of games where the user becomes motivated through rewards and punishment. On the other hand, multimedia presentations are normally fixed presentations with no user interaction. It may be part of a web lesson but only a direct link to a fixed video presentation or a download link to fixed multimedia presentation. Hypermedia allows a simple text to be enriched with a lot of hyperlinked vocabulary definitions, glossaries, translations, explanatory notes, background information, and instructional prompts.

On the other hand a simple multimedia only offers limited enrichment because it is not associate different forms of media, each must be explained separately. Hypermedia through hyperlinked and pop-ups can use a single text to be represented by several media through a simple point or click operation. Hypermedia can also be use to address a wide variety of needs, providing alternative means to engage learners. With hypermedia, teachers can help a variety of learners. Moreover, because the various supports are presented as hyperlinks, students can access them independently according to their interest, similar to an on-demand video.

Learning using multimedia or hypermedia is significantly more effective than traditional lectures. Although, according to Howard and Carver (1995), multimedia and hypermedia web lessons benefited the best students the most. This is primarily because of their increase interaction with hypermedia instructions. Again, since hypermedia offers more interaction, it is more effective than a pure multimedia presentation.


The overall effect of hypermedia and multimedia in web lessons is by far very significant. Since hypermedia offers more flexibility in linking several sources of information from main idea to background information it is more effective than purely multimedia web lessons. Hypermedia presentations also are able to address a wide variety of needs as oppose to multimedia which mostly focus on a single core competency.