Being an ELT practitioner suggests some ways in which multimedia can improve language learning skills of L2 learners in Pakistan. (20 marks)
1. Deeper understanding
According to research, a benefit of multimedia learning is that it takes advantage of the brain's ability to make connections between verbal and visual representations of content, leading to a deeper understanding, which in turn supports the transfer of learning to other situations. All of this is important in today’s 21st century classrooms, as we are preparing students for a future where higher-level thinking, problem solving and collaborative skills will be required.
2. Improved problem solving
A large percentage of the human brain dedicates itself to visual processing. Thus, using images, video and animations alongside a text stimulates the brain. Student attention and retention increase. Under these circumstances, in a multimedia learning environment, students can identify and solve problems more easily compared to the scenario where teaching is made possible only by textbooks.
3. Increased positive emotions
According to psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, experiencing positive emotions makes people see more possibilities in their lives. Using multimedia during instructions impacts student's mood during the learning process. With a positive attitude they learn better and tend to be more proactive.
4. Access to a vast variety of information
With computers, tablets, smartphones and the internet, students are today better equipped than ever to search and find the information they need. Students, who have access to internet, use it to search for online information. Sharing the information and participating in class discussions is done in a more confident way when access to information is as easy as today.
5. World exploration
There is no surprise here. With the help of multimedia children can explore and learn about places they would never been to. In a geography class, students can explore different cities of the world, the tallest mountains and the most dangerous jungles. In a science class, space and planets exploration is now possible. In a biology class, the dissection of rare animals and different habitats exploration are like a walk in a park for students benefiting of a multimedia learning environment.
6. Arousing the students’ interest
If student have no interest or desire on teaching subject, then, even if the teacher talk how carefully, the results are fruitlessly. Therefore, teachers should try their best to get students to become interest in one topic of knowledge point, and make the students with a strong passion and enthusiasm to participate in teaching. Multimedia is this kind of media which can show a variety of sounds, images, animation, and other effects, firmly grasping the student’s interest. It also can stimulate the students’ strong desire to study English actively. Multi-media teaching can not only greatly stimulate students’ interest in learning, but also make teaching becomes vivid and lively.
7. Improving students’ self-learning ability
The purpose of teaching in the classroom is not only to impart knowledge to students. The most important thing is teaching students how to learn and making students change from “want me to study” to “I want to learn” in thinking, from passive learning to active learning. Therefore, students are free from the passive learning environment, take initiative at learning, and develop their own self-learning good habits gradually. It also can enable students to tap into a good way of learning English independently, keep the cultivation of motivation and interest in learning English so as to make students really love the English, really free from the passive learning environment in English learning. The use of multimedia will be conducive to transition for students from the traditional passive learning to active state for independent study. For example, teachers can select the appropriate E-work arrangements to the students from the multimedia courseware after class, so that they can complete the relevant extra-curricular work, and send message to the teacher through their own e-mails, the teacher via electronic E-mail marking responses to student. In this way, students can not only see their learning outcomes in the shortest period of time, but also continue stimulating interest in their own learning through the multimedia network.
8. Improving students’ innovative ability
Meanwhile, multi-media teaching can also develop student’s ability to innovate. Things need to innovate, Einstein said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge, and is a source of knowledge”. In teaching, the teachers should pay attention to tap the imagination of students. To use multimedia can achieve the desired results and find unlimited resources in textbooks.
9. Cultivating students’ communication skills.
L2 students learning English often lack a certain language environment and opportunities for practicing language, but the actual language teaching is often to focus only on words and sentence structures of learning, ignoring its specific application. Thus, many students get a fixed, isolated knowledge points from textbooks, but the ability of using these knowledge points to the real life of the capacity is relatively poor. When encountering with the reality of different occasions, they will be helpless. Through multi-media teaching, we can create real-life scenes in the classroom. It is not only to shorten the distance between teaching and practice and give students the opportunity to use English to communicate, but also to satisfy their curiosity in psychology and stimulate the expression of desire.
10. Increasing classroom capacity
With only a tiny mouse, teachers can avoid using of multiple exchange of tape recorders, video recorders, overhead projectors, etc., greatly increase the output of information, speed up the pace of the classroom, increase the density of the classroom, and save a lot of time which teachers spend on writing on the blackboard. Multi-media teaching rhythm is adapted to the needs of modernization to meet the student’s desire for knowledge. It can expand text-related materials. The use of multimedia technologies can make students notice a clear knowledge and a new expansion by huge information capacity which shows by all kinds of media.