IIMS 92 contents
[ IIMS 92 contents ]

aXcess Teaching

Barry Lambert
Canberra Professional Equipment
The importance of establishing a location in the field of interactive multimedia will be discussed. Problems of specialisation and the multitude of decisions required of instructional designers are highlighted, and then, how the development of aXcess, an interactive videotape delivery system, addresses these basic issues.


The information explosion is well and truly with us. As computing speed and capacity increases volumes of data are available for processing into quantifiable and meaningful reports. This processing demands specialist attention and in some instances a number of specialists are required to interpret and produce realistic results.

The same can be said regarding multimedia. I was recently drawn to a feature article in the latest issue of Multimedia Digest, Multimedia: The good, the bad and the time consuming. Here the author in addressed the problem of specialisation:

A wide range of skills is required in the production of multimedia material and in the ideal situation there would be a team of people filling specialist roles. (Dale, 1991, p13)
In this multimedia arena specialist areas would be:


The identification of the learning style of the intended audience is paramount and it is at this point the concept of location should be addressed. A second important factor then, is to recognise the range of learning styles of the audience.

The primary objective of any courseware material must be the learners and their learning styles. Gordon Pask recognised this and Romiszowski, Developing Auto-Instructional Materials, lists the extremes of the spectrum:

The tendency to follow a linear path of step by step deduction, or development of a topic.

The tendency to 'jump ahead' in an attempt to get the 'whole picture' of the topic, returning to study details only as and when it proves necessary for comprehension. (Romiszowski, 1986, p41)

By accepting these extreme styles, the designer can quickly establish the specialist skills required and even the hardware (development and delivery) necessary to complete the tasks. For example the use of videotape is ideally suited to the serialist approach. The process of acquiring skills (be they perceptual, motor, intellectual etc.) is sequential where each part is dependent on the previous part and influences the next. On the other hand the wholist approach has elements of discovery learning with programs providing multiple entry and exit points.

What follows then is to apply the 'systems approach' for development while still maintaining freedom of expression within the design. Unfortunately we all tend to rebuke this systems approach because it is perceived that our freedom is restricted. It can be claimed that these barriers in many ways enhance the development and ones initiative provides the flair for successful learning to take place. In The Systematic Design of Instruction Dick and Carey (1985) identify that:

A more contemporary view of the instructional process is that instruction is a systematic process in which every component is crucial to successful learning. This perspective is usually referred to as the systems point of view, and advocates of this position typically use the systems approach to design instruction. (Dick and Carey, 1985, p2)


With these views in mind where is aXcess located and what specialists are required to develop and facilitate courseware?

aXcess is an Interactive videotape delivery system. Its development was a response to an action research project which investigated teachers' attitudes to interactive video technology.

Generally it was found that Interactive video (especially interactive videodisc) was considered impractical for the following reasons:

The second phase of the action research project was then to design a system which addressed these problems.

Interactive videotape has been with us for a number of years but the modular components in themselves portable but as a system when connected and assembled was unwieldy. Over a period of time the basic elements were combined into a one piece portable package. During this period extensive field testing positively located the concept for both hardware and software. The necessary specialist skills required for courseware development and delivery were also established.

The final result:


The aXcess interactive video delivery system is a one piece, portable unit, the main features being:


To facilitate a simple authoring strategy (obviating the need to master a specialised authoring language) it was decided to provide an 'interpreter'. This interpreter would recognise commands embedded within a text file. This text file could be developed with any word processor (Wordstar, Microsoft Word, Wordperfect etc.) and saved in the 'non-document' mode. Therefore with a minimum of function calls (play, stop, find) complex branching structures can be developed.


The aXcess is a flexible and simple machine for delivering programs which have specific behavioural goals and as such addresses the serialist approach. It is also a cost effective development tool for more sophisticated interactive disc or multimedia programs. Specialists are required but the time taken to reach a programming objective is considerably reduced. (Lambert and Hart, 1991, p120)


What better way of reinforcing the above principles and establishing a location for aXcess than to refer to the findings of Richard Tucker in a paper presented in London on the interactive learning revolution:
Where the training program is more or less fixed; where there is a largely linear learning process; where a small number of copies are required or different versions of a central program would be an advantage, then interactive videotape has an important role to play. It may not look as glamorous as the silvered discs but it should certainly be considered from all aspects by anyone with a training need which appears capable of being assisted by interactive media. (Tucker, 1990, p72)


  1. Barker, J. and Tucker, R. (1990). The Interactive Learning Revolution: Multimedia in Education and Training, Kogan Page, London.

  2. Tucker, R. (1990). Interactive videotape: New life for old media. In Barker,J & Tucker, R., The Interactive Learning Revolution: Multimedia in Education and Training, pp 71-2. Kogan Page, London.

  3. Dale, E. (199l). Multimedia: The good, the bad and the time consuming, Multimedia Digest, 1(2), 13-15.

  4. Dick, W. and Carey, L. (1985). The Systematic Design of Instruction. Scott, Foresman & Co, USA.

  5. Lambert , B. and Hart, I. (1991). Interactive video for the rest of us. Proc. SALT, Interactive Instruction Delivery. Society for Applied Learning Technology, USA.

  6. Romiszowski, A. (1986). Developing Auto-Instructional Materials. Kogan Page, London.

Author: Barry Lambert, Dip Teach, Manager, Information Systems, Canberra Professional Equipment. Ph. (06) 280 5576. Design of instructional delivery systems and equipment using videotape and videodisc technologies. Provided consultancy services to both local and overseas tertiary institutions in the establishment of media facilities. Committed to on-going research, in educational terms, in the development of effective instructional strategies embracing 'new technology'.

Please cite as: Lambert, B. (1992). aXcess Teaching. In Promaco Conventions (Ed.), Proceedings of the International Interactive Multimedia Symposium, 363-367. Perth, Western Australia, 27-31 January. Promaco Conventions. http://www.aset.org.au/confs/iims/1992/lambert-b.html

[ IIMS 92 contents ] [ IIMS Main ] [ ASET home ]
This URL: http://www.aset.org.au/confs/iims/1992/lambert-b.html
© 1992 Promaco Conventions. Reproduced by permission. Last revision: 5 Apr 2004. Editor: Roger Atkinson
Previous URL 4 Apr 2000 to 30 Sep 2002: http://cleo.murdoch.edu.au/gen/aset/confs/iims/92/lambert-b.html