Media Selection Models and Evaluation Instruments for Electronically Mediated Materials

Major Findings

Statements which contained adult education principles, methods or teaching strategies reached consensus except for the use of learning contracts (rejected at 72.1 percent). Based upon the number of respondents ranking themselves with high knowledge (35) as well as the low group knowledge (35.7 percent) and importance scores (33.9 percent), there is little knowledge about learning contracts or how they can be used with telecourses.

One statement questioned whether strategies should be evaluated for their ability to reach all student learning styles and was accepted (80 percent). The comments and the lower group score (48 percent) suggest that learning styles and how they may be applied to media are not well understood. Respondents perceived that visual and auditory styles can be addressed, but do not perceive that tactile, kinesthetic or interactive styles can be addressed through all components.

All statements regarding shelf life were rejected (69.8 to 74.6 percent). Producers indicated that a two to three year shelf life was normal; users wanted a much longer shelf life for cost effectiveness which indicates that producers should minimize aspects which directly affect shelf life. A possible solution is to package content with the shortest life in one video program or in print supplements which could be updated at minimal expense to producers or users.

There were two statements on video technical quality which received consensus. One stated that the video technical quality should meet professional broadcast quality standards (82.9 percent). The second stated that video technical quality should meet professional broadcast quality standards appropriate to the delivery method (cable, ITFS, broadcast, learning center, etc.) (90.9 percent). There has been a long-standing discussion about video technical quality and learning differences, if any, between educational programming produced with low or high production values. Opinion polarized into two areas. One group believes that production values are acceptable if they fit the delivery method. The second group believes that production values must meet broadcast standards because students are constantly exposed to it and will judge educational programming by their experience with commercial television. The implication for producers is that they will need to produce programming which meets broadcast quality standards in order to meet both needs. If production is less than broadcast quality, they will lose part of the market.

A statement that a total of 15 hours of video programming is ideal was rejected (47.1 percent). Comments documented that a new regulatory factor has emerged where some accrediting agencies have set student contact hours at 45 hours, the same amount required for traditional classes. This has made the 15-hour telecourse unacceptable to institutions operating under these regulations as additional projects cannot be substituted for contact hours. The 15-hour telecourse carries one credit hour; respondents felt that students would not register for this. This has implications for program design and funding and is a warning that the 45-hour contact regulation may be broadly applied. Respondents' concerns are that it increases tape costs, replacement courses are difficult to find and broadcast time becomes limited. Solutions may be lecture audio tapes or classes conducted via audio bridge. If the 15-hour telecourse is to be defended, the defense will have to be based on its quality, excellence and research showing that equivalent educational objectives can be achieved in 15 hours by a multi-media program as that obtained from 45 contact hours.

A statement regarding experts being nationally recognized was rejected (44.3 percent). This has implications for producers who use experts.

Statements were rejected about profit projection (45.0 percent) and comparison of cost effectiveness of similar courses (70.4 percent). Comments indicated that it is difficult to project income. Shrinking resources would seem to mandate that distance educators develop this management ability.

A statement about the inclusion of marketing concepts and materials was rejected (64.6 percent).


The media selection model and its evaluating instrument require evaluators to apply specific criteria to the telecourse to determine the suitability of its use in the program. The model and the evaluating instrument consider the combination of media and factors related to the course's general organization, video programs and learners. It can be used with training or post secondary materials to evaluate more than one medium and is short enough to be of practical use.

from "A Technical Guide to Teleconferencing and Distance Learning," 3rd edition