Volume 3, Issue 3, Winter 2005
Using Web-based Practice to Enhance Mathematics Learning and Achievement
This article describes 1) the special features and accessibility of an innovative web-based practice instrument (WebMA) designed with randomized short-answer, matching and multiple choice items incorporated with automatically adapted feedback for middle school students; and 2) an exploratory study that compares the effects and contributions of web-based practice on students’ learning processes with that of traditional paper-and-pencil practice. With multiple practices and immediate adapted feedback, the web-based group performed significantly better than the paper-and-pencil group on both fraction and decimal operations at the end of the study. On an average, female students gained a higher score on the post-test. However, females were distracted by the web features more than males. Students enthusiastically expressed their desires of having more of this dynamic and interactive practice by the end of the study.
The Effects of Facilitation on Cognitive Restructuring in an Online Learning Environment
This study compared the effects of system-initiated (low-level) facilitation with that of facilitator-initiated plus system-initiated (high-level) facilitation on cognitive restructuring and learning achievement. Graduate students participated in facilitated online discussion within a web course for one semester. This study found no significant effects by employing an online facilitator to provide extra facilitation in addition to the system-initiated facilitation. This finding suggests that well-designed system-initiated facilitation in cognitive restructuring may be sufficient for effective online learning. This study also found a significant correlation between cognitive restructuring and learning achievement, which confirms the importance of facilitating cognitive restructuring for effective online learning (Ausubel, 1963a, 1963b; Piaget, 1980; Vygotsky, 1978). This finding suggests that creating online interaction for facilitating cognitive restructuring should be incorporated into online pedagogy for optimizing online learning effectiveness.
Creating Connections: A Pilot Study on an Online Community of Learners
This paper reports the findings from a pilot study that investigated the uses of computer-mediated communication in an educational psychology course for pre-service teachers that focused on problem-based learning via CD-ROM-based case analysis. Thirty-nine pre-service teachers and eight practicing teachers participated in the development of an online learning community in which they viewed video case studies as part of a virtual field experience component and communicated online through chat rooms and threaded discussion lists. Data sources included transcripts of chat room and threaded communication, field notes, student tasks and reflections, and exit interviews with the teachers and one student focus group. Methodology was qualitative in nature using a template organizing approach with the constant comparative method. This paper reports the findings concerning students’ learning about educational psychology and teaching, students’ appreciation of diverse settings, the developmental nature of the questions posed by the pre-service teachers, and the advantages and disadvantages of using the technological components in this course. Results showed that the case studies helped the students make sense of the concepts and theories being studied in class, while communication with the teachers helped the students see the practical applications of the information they were learning.
The Development of Socialization in an On-line Learning Environment
The paper investigates interactions on five online courses involving staff that currently lecture or support learners in further and higher education at the University of Glamorgan, and its partner colleges throughout Wales. The qualitative research involves an ethnographical study of the ethos of the online communities of students. The findings suggest that if Stage 1 of the model is effectively designed and facilitated then socialization occurs at this stage. The design of Stage 2 of the ‘Model of teaching and learning online through online networking’ is problematic. The paper calls for a review of the relationship between the strategic objectives and their relative tasks in these important early stages of development.