Interactive multimedia offers a degree of richness that lies outside the scope of conventional design methods for computer based learning. This research seeks to develop an interdisciplinary approach to design, that recognises the ways in which the combination and integration of different media forms can be exploited to stimulate experiential, intuitive, perceptual, and social/communicative aspects of learning. The goal of the project has been to develop a conceptual design model for the development of multimedia learning environments (MLEs), for humanistic learning applications, by using interactive drama. The models and methods developed though a practical design project have been founded upon theory from the realms of psychology, social sciences, learning and education, the arts and media, and software design. They address the cognitive and social aspects of learning, the use and interpretation of interactive media, the creation of learning environments, and the activities involved in design. As a vehicle to test the theoretical perspective, a design project has been undertaken, that has involved: 0 learning needs analysis and subject matter development; 9 development of a structural model for the MLE; 9 information structure, navigation and interface design; scripting, design and development of media materials for the development of interactive drama; formative evaluation. The subject area chosen for the design project is that of pregnancy and childbirth. The primary reasons for this choice was a desire to address the issues of design for informal learning experiences (that do not fit in the remit of institutional curricula) and an interest in finding ways to represent the social and interpersonal dimension to learning. Such learning processes have been described as `humanistic learning' for the purposes of this research project. To help fulfil these goals, it was decided to work with playwright Simon Turley to develop a number of interactive drama scenes. Not only did this enable some of the more sensitive and personal issues of pregnancy to be addressed, but it also gave an opportunity to explore the world of drama, film and theatre as a means to create interactive learning experiences. The research has shown the benefits of interdisciplinary design practice, produced a framework of the theoretical issues that inform designers, and developed an approach to the design of MLEs for humanistic learning applications. These elements have been brought together to form the conceptual design model.

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