Varying the texture: a study of art, learning and multimedia

Durbridge, N.H. and Stratfold, M.P. (1996). Varying the texture: a study of art, learning and multimedia. Journal of Interactive Media in Education(1)



Art Explorer is an innovative multimedia system being designed and developed within the Institute of Educational Technology, at The Open University. Based on an analogy to dreams, Art Explorer is structured into several episodes. Each episode is designed to help beginning students of Art History foster personal constructs about paintings and develop a richer understanding of how their perceptions of paintings work. This discussion focuses on the pedagogic rationale motivating Art Explorer's development and is structured around two strands of a design story. First, it highlights the research behind the design. The reported research is about learners' problems - most specifically about the varying conceptual, perceptual and affective challenges learners face as they begin to study Art History. But, more broadly, it is about the problems faced by learners as they begin academic study and seek to engage with the knowledge and methods of discipline experts. Secondly, and it is argued, as a second pedagogic priority, the spotlight shifts to multimedia. The discussion tracks design decisions that aim both to exploit the potential of the medium and to match pre-identified learner needs. The ingredients of Art Explorer are described to illustrate some of the rich potential of the medium for negotiating understanding between teacher and learner.

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