Rich Media's Role In Learning And Development

Rich Media and L&D


Media has never been richer. That is to say, “rich media” is everywhere. To clarify, rich media is media that goes beyond the norm— such as straight text or still ads—to interact directly with the user. Commonly used in digital marketing, it often incorporates advanced content such as videos, flash content, photos, and more. Think of those movie ads you see at the top of entertainment sites that have trailers playing within the ad banner.

Because rich media helps to convey information in a format that allows learners and consumers to remain engaged with the content, they are more likely to retain it. As such, incorporating rich media in training programs is becoming more and more common, and is an effective tool to both enhance and simplify learning.

Targeting How Information is Processed

When people consume information, visual information is the fastest and easiest to take in. 40% of the nerve fibers from the brain connect to the eyes, and half of the neural tissue is related to vision in some way.The popularity of infographics in our current media landscape is proof of this.

Our brains seek visual images to make sense of the things we are reading, and visual content is far more attractive to the wandering eye than, say, a block of solid text.

Visual Content and How We Engage

In addition to more immediately drawing someone in, rich content significantly determines how people engage or if they do at all. The visual elements of any set of information will influence how people judge the information itself. They also factor into where people start when processing information and how well they relate to it and remember it.

Organized and aesthetically appealing visual components make the overall message more preferred for most people. Upon incorporating rich media, such as videos and photos, into brands' Facebook timelines, there was a 65% increase in consumer engagement. In addition, websites and blogs with visual content receive double the views of those that don't.

So, visual elements and interactivity help to further stimulate the brain, encourage information to embed itself within, and encourage people to get involved in whatever they are reading. This gives rich media a step up on other forms of media, because of its visual and interactive nature. It is one of the best ways to not only instantly engage a reader, but to help an image stick in their mind.

Incorporating Rich Media Into Your Training Programs

Because of all this, rich media has become one of the best training methods. When learning new information, rich media can help engage trainees, and hold their attention.

In a 2010 survey by Forbes, three quarters of executives surveyed said they watch work-related videos on business-related websites at least weekly. The brain yearns for this kind of visual media, and we seek it out accordingly.

It is for this reason that many types of training methods are beginning to lean more and more towards autonomous interactivity. Rather than having someone stand in front of a class and talk at bored employees, many companies will now utilize a mobile learning management system that allows for starting and stopping at the employee’s leisure, and the kind of interactive visual content that will keep them more engaged.

Other companies have simply decided to develop their own rich media training programs. When first implementing new or improved rich media content into corporate training programs, it's best to start modestly until it becomes more familiar for both creators and learners. The content simply needs to backup or enhance the information being conveyed. Something might look beautiful, but if no one is learning anything, it is not serving its primary purpose.

Rich Media Improves How People Learn

Other forms of media still serve their unique purposes as well, but rich content tends to be the most effective. Though people learn in many ways, it has been proven that rich media has a significant impact on the quality of someone’s overall learning experience. In classroom settings, students retain information more easily when visual information is included.

The best learning tools combine various media for a stronger retention effect. The world has become used to on-demand information and hyper-visuals to the point that modern learners have adapted to look for this type of information above others.

Though seeking out rich media content might seem like a hassle, the results are well worth it. The employee will have a better learning experience, and be able to contribute to the company much more effectively. This means that embracing rich media is of immeasurable benefit to everyone involved.

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