Volume 2, Issue 2, Fall 2003
Computerized Learning Environments:Problems, Design Challenges and Future Promises
This paper examines and analyzes computerized learning environments (CLEs) in terms of their problems, design challenges, and their future promises. It highlights the fact that despite the need for improvement, the future of these environments seems bright. If the instructional designers of these environments are able to establish strong and solid scientific connection between learning theories, instructional theories, instructional design principles, and CLEs, the near future will witness great potentials to deliver and receive effective learning programs inside and outside of the classroom.
Distance Technologies in Collaborative Research: Analyzing the Successes and Barriers
This study investigates uses of distance technologies to support collaborative research among groups of teacher educators using online instruction to enhance their instructional practices. The primary goal of this study was to examine the successes and barriers of the use of distance technologies for collaborative research. The study includes a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of particular distance communication tools. Data were collected via a survey administered in a Web-based format. Results indicate that e-mail and the telephone are considered the best facilitators of collaboration via a distance. The discussion reveals that technology infrastructures and participant skills play major roles in the selection of collaborative tools.
Wellness NutriFit Online Learning in Physical Education for High School Students
Understanding the learners’ perceptions of how online delivery is affecting their learning will help provide instructors with information to effectively design and use online delivery strategies (Gallini & Barron, 2001). The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the learning and perceptions of students and their instructor during online fitness and nutrition units. The study participants were 19 high school students enrolled in a semester-long wellness course (10 males, 9 females; average age: 16 years, 2 months), and their teacher. The online units lasted 2 weeks each with a 3-week activity component interval in between. Student and instructor perceptions of the online instruction were examined through interviews and surveys. The majority of students (92%, n = 12) indicated that they were able to perform basic operations on their computers and valued the importance of technology in learning and finding employment. Student achievement was measured using a knowledge test and course assignments. A dependent t test on pretest and posttest scores showed a significant gain in student knowledge. Student perceptions of online learning were mixed. On the positive side, they indicated online instruction was suitable for some learning styles, focused their learning better, and allowed them to work at their own pace and at home. Yet, they had problems navigating the technology, were unclear about which content would be assessed and missed contact with their teacher and peers. The instructor had similar perceptions. She felt disconnected from her students and not in control, got behind in her grading and belatedly realized she could have helped her students by interacting more online. Despite mostly positive responses after the first unit, students and instructor ultimately favored a mixed instructional format using online and face-to-face instruction.
Do Instructor-Provided Online Notes Facilitate Student Learning?
Previous research has shown that providing students an outline or some form of notes prior to lectures and for later review facilitates learning. Recent advances in technology make this practice practical and inexpensive. To test the efficacy of instructor provided notes, students studied lecture material under one of four conditions. Some students listened and took notes without instructor assistance. Others listened and took notes using an instructor-provided outline with spaces for students in fill in important information. A third group listened with a complete set of notes that includes virtually every idea in the lecture (in outline form). Finally, a control group studied the complete set of instructor notes without hearing the lecture. The lecture was 35 minutes and covered the structure and functions of the brain. Memory was tested in Experiment 1, while memory and transfer were measured in Experiment 2. In both studies, the group taking their own notes and the group with the instructor-provided skeletal notes performed better than the groups with full set of notes (regardless of whether they heard the lecture). However, instructor-provided skeletal notes did not increase test performance beyond what students achieved simply by taking their own notes.
The Role of Online, Asynchronous Interaction in Development of Light and Color Concepts
This study investigates the effect of asynchronous, online interaction on student conceptual understanding of light and color. Two versions (N and Y) of an online independent study module on light and color were randomly assigned to students (N = 144) enrolled in introductory science courses for non-science majors at three higher education institutions. Version Y included Internet message boards to facilitate required peer-peer interaction about the module content. Version N lacked message boards. The Light and Color Concepts Assessment Instrument (LCCAI) was administered to subjects in a pre-post test experimental design. A multivariate analysis of variance was calculated, showing that student achievement on two of the four LCCAI test items varied significantly as a function of the module version studied. Analysis of over 500 online postings in light of social constructivism indicated that significant scaffolding took place during online interactions. The authors conclude that the availability of interaction likely played an important role in online learning.