Blog Post #4: Kozma and Clark’s Debate before Three Decades is still Relevant

Kozma and Clark’s debate was about whether media affects the learning process or media is just a vehicle for instructions. Since I’m an instructional designer I know well about the debate between Kozma and Clark about the media and if its ability to help students learn better or not. The basic idea of Clark’s argument is that teaching methods have the most effective influence on learning, and media is merely a delivery device for instruction, and media has no significant difference on learning outcomes.

In fact, Clark based his theory on research and data collected throughout many different search projects. He mentioned that authentic problems or tasks seem to be a more effective influence on learning. On the other hand, the key difference between what Kozma’s believes and what Clark’s believes is that media could and should be used more than a vehicle for delivery. Kozma’s article showed how correct media could have an impact on the students’ cognitive skills. He mentioned both methods and medium have the crucial role in the design of instruction. According to Kozma, “media can be defined by its technologies, symbolic system, and processing capabilities”. Throughout his article, he discusses how books, television, and computers influence the learning processes, connect students to prior knowledge, and help students to understand the complex concepts. Moreover, he estimated about how multimedia environments can bring all these processed together (Clark, 1983).

Actually, there is a big difference between media attributes and teaching strategies and their influence on students’ learning. I believe methods before media because it is not about the use of media that enhance learning, but the way the media is used. Media are only effective if teaching methods guide them. I think media should be a good fit for a certain learning task since these media may work for some students may not with some topics and under some conditions. However, this true is for any pedagogy there is nothing works for every purpose, for every student, in all time.

I believe students today including me quickly use the Internet to search for answers even before asking peers or teachers. This is today’s media, and this has a massive influence on how students receive and share information. However, this means not providing a student with an online module and letting them be in front of the computer and saying go and learn and then expect them to reach a high level of learning. Media must be used for a specific purpose not because we live in a digital world.

I agree with Morris (2013), when he mentioned that for the digital pedagogue, teaching should begin with inquiry such as availability of tools, type of disciplines, role of teacher, type of teaching methods, way of interaction among students, content, and teachers, etc. nothing replace the role of teacher who has to craft authentic learning experiences for their students so they can gain the most of their learning experience.

Thank you!!



Clark, R. E. (1983). Reconsidering research on learning from media. Review of Educational Research, 53(4), 445-459.

One Reply to “Blog Post #4: Kozma and Clark’s Debate before Three Decades is still Relevant”

  1. Hi Rania. I quite enjoyed your post. However, while I agree with Kozma, and therefore with some of your concerns articulated here, I felt that at some points this line of argument takes the technology for granted. I was thinking about the agential capacity of technology in constructing human sensibilities (even subjectivity). Often our discussions about the digital pedagogy are seemed still entrapped in some mere technical issues such distraction and the use of technology in the classroom. However, I particularly find Morris’s article interesting in which he anchors his discussion around a very useful definition of pedagogy that covers any ‘technical tools’ set up in the classroom would constitute digital learning. This far-reaching definition appears to be, for me the least, helpful to reconsider the debate on digital pedagogy.

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