Interventions Aimed at Improving Media Literacy

For the last 25 years, the world has experienced an increased awareness of the need to educate the population about media content through research, curricula development, and other strategies. However, many people’s understanding of the tenets of media literacy is vague. Consequently, a limited number of valid concrete interventions for improving media literacy have been proposed and researched. This paper reviews two separate research studies that examined the effectiveness of planned teaching-learning intervention for school-going adolescents and the effectiveness of the intervention on their media literacy.

In the first research study, Hobbs and Frost (330–355) compared the performance of students who participated in a yearlong compulsory English Media/Communication with a demographically similar student group with no English Media/Communications training. In the treatment group, the students underwent intensive comprehension and analytic training for print, audio, and visual media. The control group received none of the analytical skills training. The two sets of students were then tested on their writing quality/quantity, ability to discern the target audience for particular media, and ability to identify editing mistakes and missing information in media content. Data analysis indicates that the intervention group was significantly different from the control group on all parameters analyzed.

 The second research work by Garage, Kaveh and Shojaeizadeh (9–14) investigated how media literacy training influenced the behavioral change in adolescent female students based on the degree to which media content influenced their behavior. The study incorporated a sample of 198 female participants. 101 participants received media literacy training while 97 participants did not. The intervention entailed an interactive teaching-learning strategy. The data collection was based on the pre-test, post-test evaluation meaning that both the intervention group and the control group received a pre-trial analysis and a post-trial evaluation to assess the effectiveness of the program. The results showed that the intervention group had a significant improvement in their mean scores for the evaluation (p=0.001). The control group’s performance showed no statistically significant improvement (p=0.200).

 The two studies had similarities as well as fundamental differences but gave similar results. For instance, both interventions entailed the actual training of the subjects on media literacy. Secondly, both studies had a control group. The control group was demographically identical to the intervention group in both studies to eliminate bias. Thirdly, both studies were based on a comparison of the pre-treatment and post-treatment of the participants to assess the effect of the training. Finally, the participants in both studies were adolescent students, a demography that is presently targeted by media censorship and content regulation. However, the selection of the interventions in the two studies had significant differences. Whereas in the first research study all the students were in the same grade and the training was a formally required school course, the second study utilized a more diverse group of participants and the media literacy training was customized for the study.

The two studies highlight the importance of media literacy training especially for the young population to improve their consumption of media content. The results of both studies are similar, indicating that participants who received media literacy training performed better in media analysis. Similarly, two studies have a similar conclusion. Media literacy training improves the adolescent’s analysis and understanding of the media content.