R* - Respondents
It is obvious from the data that there was no respondent in the group having a high level of knowledge before viewing the multimedia. More than 50 per cent possessed a low level of knowledge, whereas the remainder possessed a medium level of knowledge. By contrast, after viewing the multimedia, there was not a single student having a low level of knowledge and almost 33 per cent possessed a high level of knowledge. Further, the level of knowledge after one month also indicated that only three per cent of the respondents had a low level of knowledge; while more than one fifth had a high level of knowledge. Thus, it can be stated that multimedia not only facilitates the increased knowledge of the viewers, but also assists in the retention of the knowledge gained.
Gains in knowledge
To assess the gains in knowledge, the data regarding level of knowledge of individual respondents for before and after viewing the multimedia as well as after one month were analyzed. Net increase in knowledge was calculated for both the levels for each respondent. They were then classified as low, medium and high gains in knowledge.
The data in these regards are presented in Table 2, which clearly indicated that nearly one fourth of respondents had a low gain in knowledge (an increase in knowledge of up to 35 per cent). Those respondents who had a medium gain in knowledge by viewing the multimedia (a 35.01 to 64.99 per cent increase in knowledge) were 53 per cent, while almost 20 per cent of respondents could gain more than 65 per cent in their level of knowledge by viewing the multimedia. The results are quite encouraging and one could conclude that the multimedia can play an important role in generating knowledge.
Table 2: Distribution of respondents according to an increase in and retention of knowledge owing to exposure to multimedia
Similarly, the retention of the knowledge gained was also measured. The data indicate that almost five per cent of viewers had high retention, while nearly 41 per cent had a medium increase in knowledge even after one month. There were almost 55 per cent respondents who had a low increase in knowledge after one month (retention level), which show that the knowledge gained was retained even after one month.
Further, the researcher tried also to calculate the significance of the difference in the level of knowledge before and after viewing the multimedia as well as after one month by applying the paired 't' test. The data in Table 3 clearly point out that there is a highly significant increase in the level of knowledge of the respondents as a result of viewing the multimedia. On the other hand, the significant value of the 't' test between the post-test and the retention level implies a significant decrease in knowledge level at the time of retention. However, the highly significant increase in the level of knowledge of the respondents at the time of retention over the pre-test indicates that, though there is little loss of knowledge over the post-test, there is a net increased retention of knowledge even after one month of exposure to the multimedia.
Table 3: Extent of increase in and retention of knowledge owing to exposure to multimedia
** Significant at 0.01 level of probability
The findings of this study were in conformity with the findings of Pahad (1998) and Kumar, Gupta and Gupta (2000), who found a significant gain in knowledge after the respondents were exposed to video. Patel (1996) also observed that the combination of different teaching methods has a significant impact on gains in knowledge in classroom teaching. Similar results were observed by Thakur, Verna and Verna (1996) and Madan, Verna and Jain (1996), even in non-classroom settings. The results are also in line with the results of Agarwal and Kumar (2001) for the research study related to nutrition education through video film. Studies (Carlson & Falk, 1989; Roden, 1991) have shown that superior academic performance was achieved when multimedia forms of instruction were utilized.
The Comsell Company found that multimedia students move through the learning experience 30 per cent faster than in a traditional classroom (Roden, 1991). A Department of Defense study (cited in Amthor, 1991) also provided favorable findings for multimedia. When interactive video instruction was compared to more traditional methods of instruction, achievement was improved by over 38 per cent, while the time needed to teach the subject matter decreased by 31 per cent.
Marrison and Frick (1993) found that computer multimedia instruction had no significant effect on students' achievement in agricultural economics when used as a supplementary study tool. It is the researcher's contention, however, that, since the computer multimedia module was strongly patterned after the lecture material, the module proved to be well modeled after the concepts learned in lectures. However, students' learning time was decreased by 32 per cent with the use of the multimedia module.
Relationship between independent and dependent variables
To find out the relationship between independent and dependent variables, the correlation of the selected independent variables with the knowledge level of the respondents regarding seedling raising of paddy crop was measured. The correlation was measured for all the three conditions: i.e., before viewing the multimedia, after viewing the multimedia and after 30 days after viewing the multimedia. In order to study the simple relationship between these independent and dependent variables, the zero order correlation co-efficient was computed for each independent variable. The values of correlation co-efficient (r) were then tested for their statistical significance.
It is apparent from Table 4 that the co-efficient of correlation value of three independent variables (caste, type of family and reading habit) was found to be significantly correlated with the knowledge level of raising of seedling before viewing the multimedia. This shows that, before viewing the multimedia, the caste, the type of family and reading habits influenced the level of knowledge.
By contrast, none of the personal characteristics was found to be correlated with the level of knowledge of the respondents after viewing the multimedia. Even at the level of retention, i.e., 30 days after viewing the multimedia, there was no correlation with any of the personal characteristics. This implies that the multimedia viewing helps eliminating the impact of personal characteristics of the respondents on their level of knowledge.
This represents a great opportunity for using multimedia in the educational system so that the impact of barriers like caste, type of family and even reading habits can be reduced and the knowledge of the students can be escalated by using the multimedia.
Table 4: Relationship of independent variables with knowledge levels of respondents before and after viewing the multimedia and at the time of measuring retention
* Significant at 0.05 level of probability
It can be reiterated that there was no respondent in the high scoring group before viewing the multimedia, while after viewing the multimedia there was not a single student having a low level of knowledge. A majority of students possessed a medium level of knowledge regarding the paddy crop with special reference to seedling raising. A majority of the respondents had a medium gain in knowledge by viewing the multimedia. Variables like caste, family type and reading habits were positively correlated with knowledge level before viewing the multimedia. By contrast, immediately after viewing the multimedia, as well as at the level of retention, i.e., 30 days after viewing the multimedia, not a single independent variable was found to be correlated with the knowledge level of the respondents. It could be concluded not only that the viewing of the multimedia has increased the level of knowledge of the students but also that it helps eliminating the impact of personal characteristics on knowledge gain, thus providing a common learning platform for all the students.
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