Exploiting Multimedia in Reproductive Science Education: Research Findings


  • The majority of the content in this paper is derived from the doctoral dissertation of Angela C. Oki at Washington State University. The dissertation is entitled ‘Integrating Multimedia Instructional Design Principles with Complex Physiological Concepts in Reproductive Science’ (2011).

Author’s address (for correspondence): P.L. Senger, Current Conceptions, Inc., 525 SW Umatilla Ave, Suite 200 Redmond, OR 97756, USA. E-mail: phil@currentconceptions.com


Education in reproductive science is operating from an outdated paradigm of teaching and learning. Traditionally, reproductive education follows the pattern where students read a textbook, listen to instructor presentations, re-read the textbook and class notes and then complete a test. This paradigm is inefficient, costly and has not incorporated the potential that technology can offer with respect to increases in student learning. Further, teachers of reproductive science (and all of science for that matter) have little training in the use of documented methods of instructional design and cognitive psychology. Thus, most of us have learned to teach by repeating the approaches our mentors used (both good and bad). The technology now exists to explain complex topics using multimedia presentations in which digital animation and three-dimensional anatomical reconstructions greatly reduce time required for delivery while at the same time improving student understanding. With funding from the Small Business Innovation Research program through the U.S. Department of Education, we have developed and tested a multimedia approach to teaching complex concepts in reproductive physiology. The results of five separate experiments involving 1058 university students and 122 patients in an OB/GYN clinic indicate that students and patients learned as much or more in less time when viewing the multimedia presentations when compared to traditional teaching methodologies.