Governmental proposals for lifelong learning, and the role of Information and Learning Technologies/Information Communication Technologies (ILT/ICT) in this, idealistically proclaim that ILT/ICT empowers learners. A number of important governmental funding initiatives have recently been extended to the development of ILT in further education, which provides a particularly appropriate environment for lifelong learning. Yet little emphasis is given to more problematic research findings that students may be ‘disarmed’ in the process of learning to use technology. In the current global shift towards new forms of multimedia literacy, it is important to recognize human diversity by carrying out research focusing on the actual problems students face in adapting to Web‐based technology as a new authoring medium. A case study into multimedia creative composition carried out with FE students in 1996–9 found that students tend to experience a problematic but potentially useful period of ‘creative mess’ when authoring in multimedia, and that ‘scaffolding’ strategies can be useful in overcoming this. Such strategies can empower students to derive benefits from multimedia composition if close attention is given to the setting up of the learning environment: a teachers’ model for supporting novice hypermedia authors in further education is proposed, to assist teachers to understand and support the learning processes students may undergo in dynamic composition using new media technology
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