Multimedia is used to refer to computer-based interactive communication processes that incorporate text, graphics, sound, animation, and video. The word interactive is a key feature in multimedia, especially in the nonlinear multimedia, in the sense that the user determines what content is delivered, and how and when it is delivered. Information-processing devices, such as the computer and many electronic devices, are the ones mainly used to play, record, or generally access multimedia content, though multimedia can also be part of a live performance. When used as an adjective, multimedia can be descriptive of the electronic media devices used to store and experience multimedia content. Multimedia can be divided into linear and nonlinear categories. Linear content basically operates with minimal navigation control by the user, such as a cinema presentation. Nonlinear content offers the user more control over the application, such as seen in video games or self-paced computer-based training. Another name for nonlinear multimedia is hypermedia content. Hypermedia is based on cognitive theories of how knowledge is structured and learned by people. It progresses in a nonsequential fashion whereby it is the user who determines the next step.
Multimedia content may be viewed live on stage, or may be projected or transmitted. The content may also be played locally using a media player. If the content is broadcast, the broadcast may be live or recorded earlier. Digital online multimedia may be accessed by downloading the content or by streaming, which may be either live or on demand. Interactivity in multimedia is enhanced by combining several forms of media content. Many forms of online multimedia are increasingly becoming object oriented as well as data driven, which makes it possible to have applications with end-user collaboration and innovation as well as personalization of various types of content over time. This would include photo galleries with images accompanied by text that is user updated, as well as simulations whose parameters, illustrations, animations, and videos can be modified, allowing the multimedia experience to be altered without the need for reprogramming. Multimedia is used in the following applications.
Multimedia can be used in computer-based training courses (CBT). A CBT allows a user to view presentations on selected topics and may also incorporate illustrations in various formats. Learning theory has expanded greatly in the last decade, courtesy of multimedia. Cognitive load and multimedia learning are but some of the several lines of research that have evolved.
Software engineers use multimedia in applications such as computer simulations for industrial/military training or even entertainment.
Entertainment and Fine Arts
Multimedia is used to develop special effects in audiovisual entertainment, especially in movies. Multimedia games, a favorite pastime for many, are available as CD-ROMS/DVDs or may be available online. A key feature of multimedia is that they mostly involve interactive applications in which the users are not passive but actively participate in controlling the application.
Multimedia content is used in the industry by managers to make presentations to shareholders, superiors, and coworkers. it is also used to provide employee training, and to advertise the company’s products to target markets worldwide.
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