One generally assumed idea that students should be allowed to choose the kind of media they most like or think is best for them is refused by Richard E. Clark and Gavriel Salomon in this chapter.
“Students incorrectly assess the extent to which the instructional methods associated with the medium will allow them the most efficient use of their effort. Strong interactions with general ability are often found in this research. Higher ability students seem to like methods and media that they perceive as better structured and more directive because they think these demand less effort to achieve success. However, more structured methods prevent these higher ability students from employing their own considerable skills and therefore yield poorer achievement than methods that require them to structure their own learning activities. Lower ability students, on the other hand, seem to like the less structured and more discovery-oriented methods and media. They seem to want to avoid investing the effort required by the more structured approaches, which they may expect to result in failure. Since investing more effort to achieve the same disappointing result is less attractive, they prefer the unstructured approaches whereby they can control the effort they invest and remain relatively anonymous in the process. These lower ability students, however, need more structure and so they tend to achieve less with the instructional methods they prefer more.”
One other idea that the authors presents in this book is that most research projects fail to acknowledge the true reasons that support the successes of the use of new technologies in educations.
“Any new technology is likely to teach better than its predecessor because it generally provides better prepared instructional materials and its novelty engages learners.”
Richard E. Clark & Gavriel Salomon (1986) originally published
in Clark, Richard E. (2001) Learning from Media: Arguments, Analysis, and Evidence. (2001) . Greenwich, Conn: Information Age Pub.