10-Rep Learning ~ Teague's Tech Treks

Learning Technology & Tech Observations by Dr. Helen Teague


Does media affect learning?

This post is based on R.B. Kozma’s 1994 article, “Will media influence learning? Reframing the debate”

“Does media influence learning? Would a better question be “Does media affect learning?” and “Does media maximize learning?

Perhaps media influences learning but minimally depending on the external forces directing it. Media affects learning proportionally depending on the context and the coach. This we know. For example, a Justin Bieber video may only influence me to change the TV channel, not dance around the room. With the addition of Ludacris as a coach and vocal talent, I might be inclined to tap a pedicured toe or two, but I remain far, far, far removed from purchasing the CD. So Clark’s research (now 30 years-old) remains relevant.

Kozma was correct: it is time to reframe the question. The real game-changing question is “Does media maximize my learning and how can I measure it?” If I substitute Miles Davis for the Bieber and Ludacris pairing, then the entire scenario changes and I am listening, toe-tapping,  twirling, and rummaging through my purse for my credit card on Amazon. Better batteries in my boom box did not produce the change: the artistic content made the change. Content may indeed be my “Baby”.

Kozma emphasizes the point of connection between media and learning. This is, for me, where teaching and education intersect with science and art. Can we measure the art of teaching with scientific tools? Can we measure when learning occurs? Not the point afterlearning is retained but when it occurs? Can the “Aha” moment be measured?

Have we stayed too long in Pavlov’s cage of stimuli and response? Kozma writes convincingly, “Missing in these studies are any mentalist notions or descriptions of the cognitive, affective, or social processes by which learning occurs.”

Or, returning to the Beebs, it may not be pedagogically sound for me to call media my “Baby, Baby, Baby” if I can’t recall why I love it and think it “will always be mine.”



R.B. Kozma (1994). Will media influence learning? Reframing the debate. ETR&D, 42(2), pp 7-19. ISSN 1042-1629


Participating in an Online Community~Week 4 Post 2

Disclaimer: This post is part of course requirements following this assignment: Extend your identity in the direction of your career path and participate in a new online community. Interact online using your projected identity for at least six weeks. Think deeply about identity and learning and blog twice a week about your experience. Take time to analyze the meaning, power, and constraints of the community on your learning.

Week 4, Post 2

Thinking about Marshall McLuhan and Etienne Wenger today. I am excited about the news that Wenger will be speaking to our doctoral group in just a few days.

I wonder if Wenger would agree with McLuhan who wrote, “Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which humans communicate than by the content of the communication.” The Medium is the Massage (1967) I tend to nod toward content being king, especially in print media. I received this email just a few days ago. What struck me was the shift in language used by companies offering credit services. In the early days of credit cards, the themed idea centered around extending credit and allowing users to request inclusion in the credit organizations’ community. As potential customers, we were on the outside looking in.

I see a distinct trending difference in media advertisements today. Companies are reaching not only one but two hands to embrace and welcome potentials to their community. Community invitation is built on welcomed engagement. Notice the copy below. What words highlight an enticing community experience?


What did you notice? I saw these words: Opportunity/connect/share/issues you face/online community/feedback/impact creation

What was that? “Impact creation”? I am invited to enter at advisor status and impact creation? Pretty heady stuff! The stickiness of the advisors concept matriculates a person from customer to user to account holder to advisor.

Dan Sullivan writes about the fan page of Nilla Wafers, “Validation is the currency of the social Web, and good communities thrive when the actions of the top content creators are appreciated, curated, and enjoyed by passive lurkers.”

In the community I recently joined, e-Learning in Developing Countries, I see that there are a few super contributors and faithful responders. The majority of 10,255 members, though, seem to be lurkers, like me. Dan Sullivan, in his post, “Lurkers and Superfans: Why You Need Both in Your Facebook Communities describes lurkers as “The Dark Matter That Holds Communities Together.” I have been a fan of the potential of lurkers. Last year, I created a curated board on ScoopIt called “Lurk No Longer.” My ScoopIt curated board seeks to nudge lurkers toward active participation with various web tools.

In contrast, the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Club has many superfans and faithful contributors. I am wondering if it is no longer the medium that is the message, but the community that is the message? Is the message only as important as the community that energizes it? No, I think all messages have importance to someone. But these important messages can be lost or fail to multiply in communities that do not foster rich, interchanges and intriguing topics. So, then, is the community only as vibrant as the members that populate it? Possibly. Do online communities need organizers, amplifiers, and faithful participants just as exist in face-to-face communities? Very possibly. Quite possibly actually.


Sullivan, D. (2013, September 26). [Lurkers And Superfans: Why You Need Both In Your Facebook Communities]. Retrieved from http://allfacebook.com/crowdly-dan-sullivan-superfans-lurkers_b125468

Book Sources:

McLuhan, Marshall (1967). The Medium is the Message.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice, learning, meaning, and identity. (1st ed. ed.). Cambridge Univ Press.


Green Eggs and Ham and the New Media

“The medium is the message.”
Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, Title of Chapter 1 and of the book by the same name, also by McLuhan

Although this book was written in 1964, when three television channels were the sole source of televised media, much of McLuhan prophecy of media has reached fruition. Ted Cruz’s “fauxibuster” last night (Tuesday night) was a snapshot of the integration of new media and McLuhan’s classification of “hot” and “cold” media. CSpan, a network not in existence when McLuhan’s books were published, carried the entire 21 hour Texas-sized chat. Twitter tweets majoritized the hashtags #CSpan, #KeepCruzing, #MakeDCListen, #StandwithCruz. Senator Cruz read from selected tweets as the night progressed.

But perhaps the most demonstrative example of McLuhan’s foretelling that “the media is the message” came when Senator Cruz read to his daughters, having asked them to tune in to CSPAN at 8:00pm Tuesday night.

keep cruzing

I remember how strange it seemed to me as a child, when I saw my dad on television versus seeing him in real life. On television, he was smaller than me and black and white. In person he was larger than life and in living color! The media of reality and the media in my mind gave a science-fiction aspect to my experience. It is obvious from the picture that Ted Cruz’s daughters feel no such distancing or fragmentation, as McLuhan calls it, to seeing their dad on television. Media extended Cruz’s message, not only to his constituents and the country at large, but also, and most especially to his daughters, who may not forget that Dad read to them from Washington on a school night in September.


McLuhan, M. (1989). The medium is the message. New York: Simon & Schuster. (first published in 1967)

McLuhan, M. (1994). Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. MIT Press.

COMPLETE VIDEO of Ted Cruz Senate speech http://cs.pn/18pJVWV 

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