Wetlands in Coastal North Carolina: a Multimedia Education Program in Progress

Thousands of multimedia titles are being developed for education purposes, many on environmental topics. Learning potential is very high, because if a program is engaging and interesting, people will spend many hours with it. Ariel Training Design and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service formed a partnership with 28 local, state, and federal agencies to develop an interactive multimedia educational program on wetlands in coastal North Carolina. The project is in progress. The goal is to develop a high-quality program based on solid educational principles to teach people the ecology and value of wetlands in coastal North Carolina. Existing resources, such as video, will be incorporated where possible. The final product will complement other education programs, including workshops, print materials, and traditional video. Multimedia is a challenging endeavor because of the complexity of the various components and the infinite number of ways to present any piece of information. There are drawbacks: one would be to treat multimedia like another medium without tapping its potential. Another is to become enraptured with its capabilities and end up with all flash and no substance. Although multimedia is a blend of traditional media, it is unique and should be designed with its unique requirements in mind. But the goal is the same—to provide sound instruction on well-defined subject matter to meet stated learning objectives. This paper presents the process that is being followed to develop the program.

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