learning and teaching has drastically changed all over the world, in general, and in America, in particular. This is because of the sudden increase of information technology. Of late, both the teachers and learners, all over the world, have come to the realization that the old technologies cannot compete with the latest technological developments when it comes down to the practice of teaching and the process of learning. Therefore, the old technologies are being quickly replaced by the new multimedia technologies. It is important to note here that multimedia and its ever-increasing technological products have become very popular tools of both teaching and learning. This is because it allows the learners to pace their training in line with their capacity to learn; it allows the learners to gain control over the process of learning; and it allows the learning process to be individualized. The transformation of the methodology and approach to learning and teaching will turn out to be a common part of the future laboratory and classroom activities.
Over the years, the growth and development in the multi-media technologies has led to diversification and, as a result, multiple tools are now at the hands of the users, that is, the teachers and the learners. The process of diversification has not come to a standstill and newer tools are being created and used. Therefore, it is important for not only the teachers but also the learners to keep themselves up-to-date about the current developments regarding the multimedia technologies so that they can take advantage of the latest technologies to enhance the learning process and teaching practice. Furthermore, due to the rapid diversification in the multimedia technologies, it is imperative that we deliver a complete yet concise definition of what constitutes as a multi-media technology. A very comprehensive definition has been given by Sorel Reisman (1994). According to him: "Multimedia is a class of computer-driven interactive communication systems which create, store, transmit, and retrieve textual, graphic, and auditory networks of information (Sorel Reisman, 1994)." This definition provides us with three very broad elements of multimedia technologies: (1) The computer (2) Graphics (3) Network.
Since multimedia instructional technologies have become increasing popular in the realm of education, it is imperative that we carry out an in depth analysis of teaching, managing, maintaining and budgeting an instructional multimedia laboratory. This paper provides a theoretical model that will assist in managing a modern instructional multimedia laboratory and will help in setting the trends and method of the general functions of the multimedia laboratory. The paper will not only serve as a blueprint for the laboratory but also a starting point for future planning. Furthermore, this paper will give the basic structure that will enable the managers to reflect on all pertinent issues and that nothing essential is omitted. This paper will be a reality check when the managers will first assess the probability of the idea of a multimedia instructional laboratory.
General aim of the multimedia instructional laboratory
The general aim and objective of the laboratory is to allow the students, as well as, the teachers to familiarize themselves with the ever-developing and diversifying multimedia technologies. The laboratory aims to do this by improving the standards of the hardware and software equipment on a consistent basis.
It is common knowledge that an effective multi-media learning environment is dependent on the balance between the utilization of technology and teaching. Therefore, the aim of the laboratory, in the context of utilizing technology, will be to allow the student to think creatively, both collaboratively, as well as, individually. Technology will be considered and used under a teaching program so that the students can actively participate in the learning process. Furthermore, several researchers have asserted that simple interfaces and straightforward technological models and tools have proved to be quite adequate in assisting the students to actively take part in the mutual learning process.
Two behavioral objectives for one day instruction
It is common knowledge amongst teachers that learners do not simply react to the environment and that they are not passive learners. Therefore, the behavioral objective for a one day instruction will be to create an environment where the learners can learn by doing, understanding the multimedia tools and engaging with the multimedia tools through the process of trial and error. The students will not only familiarize themselves with the subject they are learning but also the conditions surrounding them and the consequences that encourage or sustain their behavior. Furthermore, since learning is considered to trigger a transformation in behavior owing to experience and act of structuring connections amid the time on which the behavior takes place and the reaction to that behavior, therefore, repeated combination of motivation and learning will be encouraged during the course of events. The needs and requirements of all the learners will be evaluated in order to transform their behavior patterns and make them feel more motivated and encouraged to use the multimedia technology. The competence of the learners will be measured against the objectives set out before the commencement of the instructional activity.
Two methods of teaching
While, the instructional laboratory will employ multimedia tools to enhance not only the learning experience but also the teaching experience, it is important that teaching methods are spelled out in a simplified manner. This will help not only the teachers but also the learners in identifying not only their aims and goals but also their theoretical limits. The two models that will be employed in this laboratory are behaviorist and cognitive methods of teaching.
Justification for the Behaviorist Method of Teaching
Since multimedia is an ever increasing field and the learners, as well as, the teachers are not completely comfortable with the tools, therefore it is imperative that the subject material is not too lengthy and disoriented as it would lead to boredom and dullness. Patricia Deubel (2003) provides an in-depth analysis of behaviorist method of teaching and asserts, "
Material is broken down into small, logically discrete instructional steps and is often presented as a rule, category, principle, formula, or definition. Positive examples are given to reinforce understanding, followed by negative examples to establish conceptual boundaries (Patricia Deubel, 2003)."
It is important that the learners feel that they have become acquainted with a particular activity, before a new activity is introduced because failure to do so will lead to complexity and confusion. The behaviorist model of teaching provides a perfect solution to the issue presented above as Patricia Deubel (2003) writes, "Activities are sequenced for increasing difficulty or complexity. The sequence and pacing through the material is usually without learner control. To maximize learning efficiency, learners may be routed to miss or repeat certain sections of material based on performance on a diagnostic test, or on tests within the sequence of learning activities. The amount of practice or revision they require may also vary based on performance (Patricia Deubel, 2003)."
Furthermore, the role of the teachers in a multimedia environment cannot be underestimated as they not only serve as a leader, by demonstrating the necessary skills and behavior to be successful, but also as a motivator, by encouraging the students to review and revise their activities so that they can achieve their learning objectives. Once again the behaviorist model provides a realistic solution to the above requirement, as Patricia Deubel (2003) writes, "The required operation, procedure, or skill is demonstrated and broken down into its parts with appropriate explanation before learners are expected to copy the desired behavior. Performance standards are made explicit. Learners build proficiency from frequent review or revision with check tests at strategic points or repeat practice with feedback. Design emphasizes low error rate and use of remedial loops back through material, if learner test performance seems to warrant it. Extrinsic or intrinsic reinforcement messages are used to maintain motivation (Patricia Deubel, 2003)."
One can conclude that the behaviorist model of teaching can be extremely effective as the learners can quickly acquire the fundamental theories and concepts; competencies and skills; and realistic data information inside a lucid learning structure.
Justification for the Cognitive Method of Teaching
The function of the multimedia instructional laboratory should not be to lower the observational and analytical skills of the learners, but rather its role should be to encourage creativity, logical thinking and evaluation. The cognitive method of teaching gives the learners adequate freedom to explore and discover new processes and strategies, as Patricia Deubel (2003) writes, "The goal of discovery learning is learning to learn, including the ability to question, evaluate one's strategies, and answer questions in the content domain. Discovery learning is not necessary to learn definitions, procedures, and outcomes from an existing body of knowledge (Patricia Deubel, 2003)."
It is important for the learners to develop into an independent thinker, capable to solve the complexities of not only the class room but also life in general. The process of "scaffolding" in the cognitive method of teaching allows both teachers and learners to initially rely on one another and then gradually give…