A multimedia CD makes an impressive resource for the scholar-researcher, but students unfamiliar with the subject-matter may not always work so effectively with such a resource. Without any narrative structure, how does the novice cope? The paper describes how we are investigating the design features that 'afford' activities that generate learning: What are the design features that encourage students to practise the role of the scholar? What encourages them to explore, but also to reflect on their analysis of the data they find? What kind of learning takes place when students are allowed to explore at will? The paper goes on to compare the learning experiences of students using commercial CDs with those using material with contrasting designs, in an attempt to identify the design features that afford constructive learning activities. It concludes with an interpretation of the findings, comparing them with work in related educational media, and situating the findings in the context of a conversational framework for learning
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