The full-text may be used and/or reproduced, and given to third parties in any format or medium, without prior permission or charge, for personal research or study, educational, or not-for-prot purposes provided that:• a full bibliographic reference is made to the original source • a link is made to the metadata record in DRO • the full-text is not changed in any way The full-text must not be sold in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.Please consult the full DRO policy for further details. Abstract Multimedia and networking technologies have significantly impacted on our daily activities, particularly in terms of how we learn. Nowadays, classroom teaching no longer simply relies on chalk and blackboard as the prime medium for course dissemination. Elearning technologies have made it possible to provide a virtual classroom environment on the Web through supporting teacher-student and student-student communications, course material distribution as well as online student assessments. They provide students with more control over their learning schedule and pace. On top of this, multimedia technologies further offer students different forms of media to match their learning styles, leading to enhancements of their learning effectiveness. This extended introduction discusses the latest e-learning specific multimedia technologies, their research challenges and future trends from both pedagogical and technological perspectives. We also summarize the papers included in this special issue.