Can music and animation affect flow and attainment in online learning?

  • Sue Grice

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    E-learning has found its way into various areas of our lives and, as technology has developed, the ways in which e-learning has been delivered have become more varied. Researchers and e-learning developers can become captivated by new technologies and the facilities that these technologies can offer. However, increased availability does not necessarily mean better facilities or results. In the early days of e-learning, materials were generally just text-based and the use of multimedia elements such as audio was very limited, whilst current materials generally incorporate much multimedia and often result in materials that are ‘all singing all dancing’. However, there has been little research into the benefits of such ‘entertaining’ learning materials over the older-style text-based learning materials. The research described in this thesis explored the use of music and animation within an e-learning environment and the effects it might have upon a learner - in particular how music and animation might affect a learner’s emotional state and learning attainment. The model of flow was used to determine the emotional state of the learner. Flow can be used to describe focused motivation, when a person is fully immersed in a task. Several experiments were designed and carried out to determine the effects of including music and animation in an e-learning application. It was found that while the learning attainment was unaffected by the inclusion of the music and animation, learners’ flow experiences were negatively affected. These findings highlighted the importance of the design phase of learning material and it should also be considered that adding more multimedia elements does not necessarily lead to improved learning or enhanced learner satisfaction.
    Date of Award2010
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorJanet Hughes (Supervisor) & Peter Gregor (Supervisor)


    • E-learning

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