Volume 7, 2010
Ethical Aspects of Dual Coding
Implications for Multimedia Ethics Training in Business
Rapid development of e-learning courses for ethics-and-compliance programs led to substantial success in producing engaging multimedia training toolkits aimed at breaking through barriers of indifference and distrust by combining learning with fun. However, a pleasant training experience is no guarantee of its ultimate success in improving organizational ethics. Drawing on Paivio’s Dual Coding Theory, this paper presents a model for evaluating multimedia learning from a moral viewpoint. The main argument advanced in the paper is that entertaining multimedia training modules, as commonly offered in the business world, may deliver an unintended message which runs counter to the very goal of ethics training. The Rocked or Shocked? videogame—a multimedia-based ethics training module—will serve as a case study for detecting the complicated role of entertainment in ethics training and examining the ethical meanings conveyed through the pictorial/event channel. The paper concludes with recommendations for the design of multimedia ethics training.