Journal of Computer Assisted Learning

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The impact of an automated learning component against a traditional lecturing environment

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 21:35
Abstract

This experimental study investigates the effect on the examination performance of a cohort of first-year undergraduate learners undertaking a Unified Modelling Language (UML) course using an adaptive learning system against a control group of learners undertaking the same UML course through a traditional lecturing environment. The adaptive learning system uses two components for the creation of suitable content for individual learners: a content analyser that automatically generates metadata describing cognitive resources within instructional content and a selection model that utilizes a genetic algorithm to select and construct a course suited to the cognitive ability and pedagogic preference of an individual learner, defined by a digital profile. Using the Kruskal–Wallis H test, it was determined that there was a statistically significant difference between the control group of learners and the learners that participated in the UML course using the adaptive learning system following an examination once the UML course concluded, with p = 0.005, scoring on average 15.71% higher using the adaptive system. However, this observed statistically significant difference observed a small effect size of 20%.

Categories: Teaching, Technology

Using augmented reality to support a software editing course for college students

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 04:19
Abstract

This study aimed to explore whether integrating augmented reality (AR) techniques could support a software editing course and to examine the different learning effects for students using online-based and AR-based blended learning strategies. The researcher adopted a comparative research approach with a total of 103 college students participating in the study. The experimental group (E.G.) learned with the AR-based contents, while the control group (C.G.) learned with the online-based support. The findings demonstrated the potential of AR techniques for supporting students' learning motivation and peer learning interaction, and the AR-based contents could be used as scaffolding to better support blended learning strategies. The AR-based learning interaction could also be a trigger arousing learners' interest in becoming active learners and the students presented great learning involvement after the AR-based supports were removed, while the learners in the C.G. were passive once the supports had been removed. Moreover, it was found that (1) their lack of experience with AR interaction and applications, (2) the slow speed of the Internet in the school, (3) the affordances of each learner's mobile learning devices, (4) the screen size of the learning interface and (5) the overloading of the learning information from the AR contents and teacher lectures might be the reasons why the learners were still more used to the online-based support. It was therefore concluded that when integrating AR applications into a course, technology educational researchers should take into careful consideration the target learning content design, the amount of information displayed on the mobile screen and the affordances of the learning equipment and classroom environment so as to achieve a suitable learning scenario.

Categories: Teaching, Technology

Understanding web activity patterns among teachers, students and teacher candidates

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 22:50
Abstract

This study sought to understand generational and role differences in web usage of teachers, teacher candidates and K–12 students in a state in the USA (n = 2261). The researchers employed unique methods, which included using a custom-built persistent web browser to track user behaviours free of self-report, self-selection and perception bias. Results revealed that all three groups utilized a variety of resources daily, but with some noticeable differences. For instance, (1) teachers and teacher candidates used the Internet on school devices much more than students; (2) they accessed general, multimedia, search, entertainment, shopping and social resources at a higher rate than students; (3) students visited a higher proportion of educational websites than their teachers; and (4) teachers visited a higher proportion of search pages than teacher candidates. Results may be useful for researchers (1) to better understand generational differences between groups; (2) to expand educational technology research to better include non-pedagogical support tools for educators; and (3) to serve as a counterpoint for self-report data on web resource frequency of use, which may provide different results.

Categories: Teaching, Technology

Using multimedia for e-learning

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 21:10
Abstract

This paper reviews 12 research-based principles for how to design computer-based multimedia instructional materials to promote academic learning, starting with the multimedia principle (yielding a median effect size of d = 1.67 based on five experimental comparisons), which holds that people learn better from computer-based instruction containing words and graphics rather than words alone. Principles aimed at reducing extraneous processing (i.e., cognitive processing that is unrelated to the instructional objective) include coherence (d = 0.70), signalling (d = 0.46), redundancy (d = 0.87), spatial contiguity (d = 0.79) and temporal contiguity (d = 1.30). Principles for managing essential processing (i.e., mentally representing the essential material) include segmenting (d = 0.70), pre-training (d = 0.46) and modality (d = 0.72). Principles for fostering generative processing (i.e., cognitive processing aimed at making sense of the material) include personalization (d = 0.79), voice (d = 0.74) and embodiment (d = 0.36). Some principles have boundary conditions, such as being stronger for low- rather than high-knowledge learners.

Categories: Teaching, Technology

Unpacking students' conceptualizations through haptic feedback

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 23:45
Abstract

While it is clear that the use of computer simulations has a beneficial effect on learning when compared to instruction without computer simulations, there is still room for improvement to fully realize their benefits for learning. Haptic technologies can fulfill the educational potential of computer simulations by adding the sense of touch. Visuohaptic simulations may not only help students visualize these concepts, but they may also have the capability of enriching the learning experience and enhancing retention. To provide additional insights about how students conceptualize abstract and difficult concepts in science, this study proposes a sequencing approach. The research questions are: (1) what are undergraduate students' ways of conceptualizing electric fields through haptic feedback? And (2) what are undergraduate students' perceptions of using visuohaptic simulations for their learning of electric force concepts? Participants included nine undergraduate students who participated in a think aloud procedure. Data were analysed qualitatively using open coding followed by axial coding. The results suggest that students' conceptualized electric force concepts through embodied haptic experiences by inferring force–distance relationship, sign inference, shape of field and indirectly inferring the concept of electric potential. Students also perceived the value of using visual plus haptic simulations to help them understand and retain concepts.

Categories: Teaching, Technology

Exploring collaborative learning effect in blended learning environments

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 23:10
Abstract

The use of new technology encouraged exploration of the effectiveness and difference of collaborative learning in blended learning environments. This study investigated the social interactive network of students, level of knowledge building and perception level on usefulness in online and mobile collaborative learning environments in higher education. WeChat, which is a mobile synchronous communication tool, and modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment (Moodle) were used as mobile and online collaborative learning settings. Seventy-eight college students majoring in information engineering participated in the experiment. The following findings were revealed by combining methods of social network analysis, content analysis and questionnaire survey: (1) the collaborative social networks generated in this study showed that students had tighter interaction relationships in Moodle than in WeChat; (2) deeper level of knowledge building in collaboration and interaction through Moodle than WeChat was observed; and (3) Moodle got higher perception level than WeChat because of its usefulness for collaboration.

Categories: Teaching, Technology

Firefighter learning at a distance – a longitudinal study

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 22:30
Abstract

This article presents a summary analysis of a 5-year study on the implementation of a technology-supported distance firefighter training programme in Sweden, focused on the firefighter students' learning processes regarding challenges, contradictions and changes that occurred during the implementation period. With activity theory as the theoretical basis, three data collections were carried out. The analysis, based on interviews with firefighter students and instructors as well as observation logbooks and educational documents, identified two phases, an implementation phase and a dissemination phase. The implementation phase is characterized by the distance students developing a self-directed and goal-oriented learning, supported by the revised and technology-supported training design. During the dissemination phase, when many technology-inexperienced instructors become involved in the distance programme, a number of challenges and contradictions are identified, which, however, turn out to be a driving force for the students to develop alternative learning strategies. Finally, vocational distance training is discussed in terms of potential opportunities for developing vocational students' learning processes.

Categories: Teaching, Technology

Using eye movements to model the sequence of text–picture processing for multimedia comprehension

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 03:15
Abstract

This study used eye movement modeling examples (EMME) to support students' integrative processing of verbal and graphical information during the reading of an illustrated text. EMME consists of a replay of eye movements of a model superimposed onto the materials that are processed for accomplishing the task. Specifically, the study investigated the effects of modeling the temporal sequence of text and picture processing as shown in various replays of a model's gazes. Eighty-four 7th graders were randomly assigned to one of the four experimental conditions: text-first processing sequence (text-first EMME), picture-first processing sequence (picture-first EMME), picture-last processing sequence (picture-last EMME) and no-EMME (control). Online and offline measures were used.

Eye movement indices indicate that only readers in the picture-first EMME condition spent significantly longer processing the picture and showed stronger integrative processing of verbal and graphical information than students in the no-EMME condition. Moreover, readers in all EMME conditions outperformed those in the control condition for recall. However, for learning and transfer, only readers in the picture-first EMME condition were significantly superior to readers of the control condition. Furthermore, both the frequency and duration of integrative processing of verbal and graphical information mediated the effect of condition on learning outcomes.

Categories: Teaching, Technology

Diverse delivery methods and strong psychological benefits: A review of online formative assessment

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 05:38
Abstract

This article is a review of literature on online formative assessment (OFA). It includes a narrative summary that synthesizes the research on the diverse delivery methods of OFA, as well as the empirical literature regarding the strong psychological benefits and limitations. Online formative assessment can be delivered using many traditional assessment methods. These assessments can be delivered using a variety of programs and software. The benefits of using OFAs include both gains in achievement scores and the development of essential complex cognitive processes, such as self-regulation. While attention is paid to both K–12 and higher education settings, this article highlights how OFA has been used distinctly in each. This paper has high utility for both academics and practitioners.

Categories: Teaching, Technology

Tracking the reading eye: towards a model of real-world reading

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 02:56
Abstract

Eye tracking has helped to understand the process of reading a word or a sentence, and this research has been very fruitful over the past decades. However, everyday real-world reading dramatically differs from this scenario: we read a newspaper on the bus, surf the Internet for movie reviews or browse folders at work to fill in forms. Therefore, we propose to structure eye-tracking research in reading into three levels of reading: level 1 research on reading to investigate single words or sentences, level 2 research on reading and comprehending a whole text and level 3 research on reading and processing involving several text documents. The present Special Section includes three articles investigating real-world reading on levels 2 and 3. These articles show how real-world reading can be investigated by means of eye tracking and complementary methods, to understand how we read, comprehend and integrate texts in realistic, everyday scenarios. Such new research lines broaden our knowledge of reading itself.

Categories: Teaching, Technology

Corrigendum

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 02:56
Categories: Teaching, Technology

The effects of cognitive capacity and gaming expertise on attention and comprehension

Fri, 05/05/2017 - 04:37
Abstract

Educational video games can impose high cognitive demands on its users. Two studies were conducted to examine the cognitive process involved in playing an educational digital game. Study 1 examined the effects of users' working memory capacity and gaming expertise on attention and comprehension of the educational messages. The results showed that gaming experts seem to benefit more from having a higher working memory capacity when processing information from the game. However, gaming experts' available working memory did not predict better comprehension. Instead, non-experts' available working memory predicted better comprehension. Study 2 further examined whether these results were caused by insufficient working memory allocation or different attention focus between gaming experts and non-experts. The findings suggest that gaming experts approach the game differently from non-experts, focusing on familiar features and overlooking unfamiliar (educational) information.

Categories: Teaching, Technology

Perceptions of learning effectiveness in M-learning: scale development and student awareness

Wed, 05/03/2017 - 01:05
Abstract

The purpose of this study is to develop a multi-dimensional scale to measure students' awareness of key competencies for M-learning and to test its reliability and validity. The Key Competencies of Mobile Learning Scale (KCMLS) was determined via confirmatory factor analysis to have four dimensions: team collaboration, creative thinking, critical thinking and problem solving, and communication. The research subjects are 815 students from the elementary school that participate in M-learning programme in Taiwan. The research results show that students have better self-awareness in team collaboration and creative thinking, but have worse self-awareness in critical thinking and problem solving. This study also found that there was no significant difference between genders in the KCMLS, but students who study in the schools that committed in M-learning longer have higher awareness in all dimensions than students who study in the schools that committed to M-learning in fewer years.

Categories: Teaching, Technology

Improving mastery of fractions by blending video games into the Math classroom

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 13:32
Abstract

Concepts from the Australian mathematics curriculum on fractions were used as core elements to design three computer games. In each game, the concepts were presented in the form of tangible puzzles, customized to a difficulty level based on student capability. The games were integrated into a single virtual game world, and a fantasy story was used to help build a compelling experience. Five Year 6 classes were used to evaluate the game over four weeks. Three of the classes were provided with the games, and two served as a control. Both the intervention and control groups also covered fractions in class as part of the regular teaching program, consisting of instructor led content combined with access to online resources and activities. Participants completed a diagnostic test before the trial, and again at the end, designed to assess competence in the fractions concepts targeted by the game. Results show that on average students who had access to the game in addition to the regular teaching scored higher than control group students. In particular, looking at just students who started with a lower level of fractions skills, greater improvement was seen in those that had access to the game.

Categories: Teaching, Technology

Medical students' attitudes towards the use of virtual patients

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 22:45
Abstract

An increasing number of virtual patients (VPs) are being used in the classroom, which raises questions about how to implement VPs to improve students' satisfaction and enhance their learning. This study developed and validated a scale that measures acceptability and attitudes of medical students towards the use of the VP education tool in the classroom.

This mixed method study first explored attitudes with 11 students in two focus groups. Later on, eight experts performed item reduction and transformation through three rounds of the Delphi-study method, and an initial version of the scale [virtual patient integration rating scale (VPIRS)] was developed. The scale was administered among 138 medical students to determine its reliability.

A total of 88 medical students responded to the final version of the VPIRS. Principal component analysis was performed in order to determine questionnaire domains. The final, validated scale contains 25 items in four domains, with a reliability of 0.864. The identified domains are as follows: (1) acquiring and maintaining knowledge, (2) facilitation of learning, (3) inauthentic learning and (4) disadvantages of learning.

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time a VP rating scale has been developed. VPIRS allows for targeted engagement with students regarding learning and evaluation with VPs, thereby providing opportunities for student-centred teaching.

Categories: Teaching, Technology

Information problem-solving skills in small virtual groups and learning outcomes

Fri, 03/31/2017 - 03:20
Abstract

This study investigated the frequency of use of information problem-solving (IPS) skills and its relationship with learning outcomes. During the course of the study, 40 teachers carried out a collaborative IPS task in small virtual groups in a 4-week online training course. The status of IPS skills was collected through self-reports handed in over the course of the 4 weeks. Learning was evaluated by means of open-ended questionnaires before and after the group task. Three types of knowledge learning were evaluated: declarative, procedural and situational. Teachers exhibited a recurrent use of all skills during the whole collaborative task, although periodic use differed from week to week. Results showed a relationship between some IPS skills and declarative and procedural knowledge. The skills that were statistically significant were share information, read peer's information and analyse information. Implications for learning support and instruction are discussed.

Categories: Teaching, Technology

Intelligent tutorial system based on personalized system of instruction to teach or remind mathematical concepts

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 04:25
Abstract

The growth of the higher education population and different school paths to access an academic degree has increased the heterogeneity of students inside the classroom. Consequently, the effectiveness of traditional teaching methods has reduced. This paper describes the design, development, implementation and evaluation of a tutoring system (TS) to improve student's engagement in higher mathematics. The TS design was based on the Personalized System of Instruction of the Mastery Learning pedagogical approach and can be implemented in any higher education course with mathematics needs. The TS consists on small self-paced modularized units of educational contents, including tutorial videos, notes and formative e-assessment with personalized feedback. The TS ensures that the student is only allowed to proceed to the next unit after he or she achieves the required mastery criterion of the current unit. The TS was implemented in the Quantitative Methods course of an undergraduate degree and received good acceptance from students. It was also recognized that TS contributed to learning and engagement with the discipline. Through an experimental research experience, it has been shown that the imposition of restrictions on the advance to the next level by a mastery criterion leads to a significant improvement in student's engagement and performance.

Categories: Teaching, Technology

Using cognitive load theory to structure computer-based learning including MOOCs

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 02:00
Abstract

A massive, open, online course (MOOC) is a form of computer-based learning that offers open access, internet-based education for unlimited numbers of participants. However, the general quality and utility of MOOCs has been criticized. Most MOOCs have been structured with minimal consideration of relevant aspects of human cognitive architecture and instructional design principles. This paper suggests cognitive load theory, with its roots embedded in our knowledge of human cognitive architecture and evolutionary educational psychology, is ideally placed to provide instructional design principles for all forms of computer-based learning, including MOOCs. The paper outlines the theory and indicates instructional design principles that could be used to structure online learning and to provide an appropriate base for instructional design when using computer-based learning.

Categories: Teaching, Technology

Text difficulty affects metacomprehension accuracy and knowledge test performance in text learning

Sun, 03/19/2017 - 22:25
Abstract

Metacomprehension as reflected in judgements of one's learning is crucial for self-regulated study, yet their accuracy is often low. We investigated text difficulty as a constraint on metacomprehension accuracy in text learning. A total of 235 participants studied a 10-section expository text and afterwards took a knowledge test. They made judgements of learning after each section. Sections were of high, medium or low difficulty; we manipulated between participants the order of difficulty levels across sections. In blocked orders, texts in each block (sections 1–4; sections 5–6; sections 7–10) were of the same difficulty level. In mixed orders, difficulty varied throughout the learning unit either from easy to difficult or from difficult to easy. Our general tenet was that orders would trigger different extents of experience-based processing and thus influence metacomprehension accuracy to different degrees. As hypothesized, accuracy was higher for blocked difficulty orders. Late-section judgement magnitude decreased more strongly in the blocked groups. At the same time, late-section judgement accuracy was higher in the blocked group. We discuss implications and limitations of the influence of fluctuations in text difficulty on judgements of learning accuracy together with some avenues for further research.

Lay Description

What is already known about this topic?

  • Metacomprehension as reflected in judgements of one's learning (JOL) is crucial for effective self-regulated study.
  • JOL accuracy is often low.
  • Text difficulty appears to bias metacomprehension in topically non-coherent series of texts.

What this paper adds?

  • This paper establishes text difficulty as a constraint on metacomprehension accuracy in topically coherent texts.
  • This paper explains text difficulty effects as different relative weights of experience-based and theory-based processing, respectively.

Implications for practice and/or policy:

  • Taking systematic text difficulty effects into account may help avoid unintended adverse effects of difficulty order on metacomprehension accuracy.
  • Arranging difficulty levels block-wise may enhance experience-based processing and thus judgement accuracy.
  • Additionally, with topically coherent texts, increasing difficulty across texts benefits performance in a later knowledge text.
Categories: Teaching, Technology

Are you with me or not? Temporal synchronicity and transactivity during CSCL

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 04:10
Abstract

Do the simultaneous alignment of student activities (temporal synchronicity) and students successively building on each other's reasoning (transactivity) predict the quality of collaborative learning products? To address this question, we used a mixed-method approach to study 74 first-year university students who were randomly assigned to work in dyads on an ill-defined problem of biodiversity collapse in tropical forests within a computer-supported collaborative learning setting. The quantitative analysis revealed that neither temporal synchronicity nor transactivity was related to the quality of group products. The qualitative analysis of chat transcripts revealed that the variability between the groups could be explained by group dynamics, students' prior knowledge, confidence in managing the learning task, collaborative strategy and communication skills. The study findings could be used to optimize collaboration by informing students directly of their activities or the teachers that scaffold these activities.

Lay Description

What is already known about this topic:

  • Collaborative learning effort is influenced by how well students coordinate their activities across time and transact on each other's ideas.

What this paper adds:

  • This study examines the relation between temporal synchronicity, transactivity and the quality of group products in the context of synchronous computer-supported collaborative learning.
  • Neither temporal synchronicity nor transactivity was found to be directly related to the quality of group products.

Implications for practice and/or policy:

  • Collaboration groups require socio-cognitive support not only based on the attunement of their efforts but also based on differences within groups.
Categories: Teaching, Technology

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