This mixed methods study is aimed to examine the feasibility of integrating mathematical problem solving with architectural design via a 3D epistemic simulation game to promote active mathematics learning for middle-school students. The experimental-control pretest/posttest group design was adopted to examine whether the experience of interacting with an architecture simulation game would improve students’ math knowledge for and performance of problem solving. Data were collected from 61 6th graders via both quantitative and qualitative methods, including math problem-solving and mental rotation tests, video- and screen-capture of game play behaviors, observation, as well as game logs. The study results indicated that the gaming group performed significantly better than the non-gaming control group in the math context problem solving test. The infield observation and participants’ gaming behavior analysis suggested that the learning and practice of mathematical problem solving during gaming is a cognizant and planned endeavor framed by carefully designed game actions and objects.
Improving teacher professional development for online and blended learning: a systematic meta-aggregative review
In order to fully realise the potential of online and blended learning (OBL), teacher professional development (TPD) strategies on how to teach in an online or blended learning environment are needed. While many studies examine the effects of TPD strategies, fewer studies target the specific important components of these strategies. This study addresses that gap by conducting a systematic review of qualitative data consisting of 15 articles on TPD that targets OBL. Using a meta-aggregative approach, six different synthesised findings were identified and integrated into a visual framework of the key components of TPD for OBL. These synthesised findings are the base for the action recommendations which present specific and contextualised suggestions. Taken together, the findings can inform in-service teachers and trainers, together with further research and development efforts that are concerned with TPD for OBL.
In this critical literature review, we seek to understand why multidimensional, psychological measures of human emotion that have been popular in the study of emotion and learning to date, may not yield the statistical power or construct validity necessary to consistently explain or predict human learning. We compare competing theories and conclude that educational studies tend towards use of multi-dimensional models of human emotions which, while useful in educational psychology and therapeutic practice, suffer from psychometric flaws and generate lower power when used as empirical research constructs compared with the “basic emotion” models and their derivatives popular in the neurobiological, cognitive, and social sciences. Based on our review, we conclude that more extensive use of physiological measures and analysis of spontaneous emotion language, both rooted in the basic emotions tradition rather than continued psychological measurement of multi-dimensional emotions, may yield more consistent and significant results and reduce education researchers’ reliance on self-report measures. Findings from the review may advance the selection of operational definitions and formulation of research questions for new empirical studies of the intersections between emotion and learning.
Development of a computer-assisted Japanese functional expression learning system for Chinese-speaking learners
Because a large number of Chinese characters are commonly used in both Japanese and Chinese, Chinese-speaking learners of Japanese as a second language (JSL) find it more challenging to learn Japanese functional expressions than to learn other Japanese vocabulary. To address this challenge, we have developed Jastudy, a computer-assisted language learning (CALL) system designed specifically for Chinese-speaking learners studying Japanese functional expressions. Given a Japanese sentence as an input, the system automatically detects Japanese functional expressions using a character-based bidirectional long short-term memory with a conditional random field (BiLSTM-CRF) model. The sentence is then segmented and the parts of speech (POS) are tagged (word segmentation and POS tagging) by a Japanese morphological analyzer, MeCab (http://taku910.github.io/mecab/), trained using a CRF model. In addition, the system provides JSL learners with appropriate example sentences that illustrate Japanese functional expressions. The system uses a ranking system, which gives easier sentences a higher rank, when selecting example sentences. A support vector machine for ranking (SVMRank) algorithm estimates the readability of example sentences, using Japanese-Chinese common words as an important feature. A k-means clustering algorithm is used to cluster example sentences that contain functional expressions with the same meanings, based on part-of-speech, conjugation form, and semantic attributes. Finally, to evaluate the usefulness of the system, we have conducted experiments and reported on a preliminary user study involving Chinese-speaking JSL learners.
Building a game-enhanced formative assessment to gather evidence about middle school students’ argumentation skills
In this paper, we describe an effort to develop and evaluate an innovative formative assessment to gather evidence about middle school students’ argumentation skills. Specifically, this game-enhanced scenario-based assessment (Seaball—Semester at Sea) includes a series of argumentative reasoning activities in the context of an extended scenario wherein students debate the issue of whether junk food should be sold to students. These activities were designed around argumentation learning progressions (i.e., hypotheses about the qualitative shifts that occur as students achieve higher levels of sophistication in argumentation) which serve as a framework to determine the targeted skills, levels and activity sequences. Performance feedback is also provided in the assessment. We conducted a pilot study, aimed at examining student performance and the validity of the tasks as a measure of argumentation skills. More than 100 middle school students completed this assessment and additional external measures of argumentation in a pre/post design. Descriptive statistics of student performance in the activities, analyses of item difficulty, and correlations are reported. Results indicated that students’ total scores were significantly correlated with external measures of argumentation skills, and with students’ state reading and writing test scores. In addition, students achieved higher average scores in a post-test of argumentation skills after having completed the Seaball activities. Finally, explanatory feedback about students’ task performance was found to be beneficial to those who were “Below” or “Approaching” proficient on the state reading and writing test. We conclude with implications for assessment design and instruction in argumentation.
The field of adaptive e-learning is continuously developing. More research is being conducted in this area as adaptive e-learning aims to provide learners with adaptive learning paths and content, according to their individual characteristics and needs, which makes e-learning more efficient and effective. The learner model, which is a representation of different learner’s characteristics, plays a key role in this adaptation. This paper presents a systematic literature review about learner modelling during the last 5 years, describing the different modelled characteristics and the adopted modelling techniques and modeling types: automatic modeling and collaborative modeling. 107 publications were selected and analyzed, and six categories of the modelled characteristics were identified. This literature review contributes to the identification of the learners’ individual traits and presents the most used modelling techniques for each of them. It also identifies the latest research trends of Learner Modeling and generates future research directions in this field.
Teachers’ perceptions of the usability of learning analytics reports in a flipped university course: when and how does information become actionable knowledge?
The flipped classroom model is a form of blended learning in which delivery of content occurs with online materials, and face-to-face meetings are used for teacher-guided practice. It is important that teachers stay up to date with the activities students engage in, which may be accomplished with the help of learning analytics (LA). This study investigated university teachers’ perceptions of whether weekly LA reports that summarized student activities supported their teaching activities (n = 7). The teachers reported using the LA reports for diagnosing and intervening during student activities, and that the reports encouraged them to start interaction with students. Teachers did sometimes find it difficult to connect the information from the LA reports to concrete interventions, which was partly dependent on the level of the teacher’s experience. LA reports might support teachers further by not only offering information, but also by suggesting interventions.
Correction to: Cultural divides in acceptance and continuance of learning management system use: a longitudinal study of teenagers
In the abstract, the second “FG” in the sentence below should be “SG”:
The sample was classified into three cultural groups: 203 first-generation immigrant students (FG), 354 second-generation immigrant students (FG), and 521 non-immigrant student (Native).
Thus, the original sentence should be corrected as follows:
The sample was classified into three cultural groups: 203 first-generation immigrant students (FG), 354 second-generation immigrant students (SG), and 521 non-immigrant student (Native).
A review of empirical studies of affordances and development of a framework for educational adoption of mobile social media
As one of the most widely adopted mobile and social media applications, Tencent WeChat ® (‘WeChat’) has been increasingly used in education at all levels in Asia, and in China in particular. However, only a small number of studies have been conducted to explore educational affordances of WeChat. In this paper, these affordances are defined as opportunities for an educational activity that are determined and supported by perceived and actual features of a technology tool or an environment (Gibson in The ecological approach to visual perception, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1979; Norman in The psychology of everyday things, Basic Books, New York, 1988; Sanders in Ecol Psychol 9(1):97–112, 1997). The authors conducted a review of 21 studies out of a pool of 1984 identified publications on the topic to examine existing practices, empirical studies and recommendations for the uses of WeChat, and with the over-reaching aim of articulating a framework for the adoption of educational affordances of mobile social media. Such framework will serve practice as well as research on educational uses of mobile social media and help extend theory of affordances in this domain. A total of seven categories of educational affordances of WeChat were explicated and included in this framework: Resources Sharing, Authentic Learning, Collaboration, Community Building, Motivating Environment, Evaluation and Feedback, and Administration for Learning. Guidelines for the adoption of this framework are developed, and suggestions for future research are proposed.
Development of software to support argumentative reading and writing by means of creating a graphic organizer from an electronic text
This paper describes the development of a software program that supports argumentative reading and writing, especially for novice students. The software helps readers create a graphic organizer from the text as a knowledge map while they are reading and use their prior knowledge to build their own opinion as new information while they think about writing their essays. Readers using this software can read a text, underline important words or sentences, pick up and dynamically cite the underlined portions of the text onto a knowledge map as quotation nodes, illustrate a knowledge map by linking the nodes, and later write their opinion as an essay while viewing the knowledge map; thus, the software bridges argumentative reading and writing. Sixty-three freshman and sophomore students with no prior argumentative reading and writing education participated in a design case study to evaluate the software in classrooms. Thirty-four students were assigned to a class in which each student developed a knowledge map after underlining and/or highlighting a text with the software, while twenty-nine students were assigned to a class in which they simply wrote their essays after underlining and/or highlighting the text without creating knowledge maps. After receiving an instruction regarding a simplified Toulmin’s model followed by instructions for the software usage in argumentative reading and writing along with reading one training text, the students read the target text and developed their essays. The results revealed that students who drew a knowledge map based on the underlining and/or highlighting of the target text developed more argumentative essays than those who did not draw maps. Further analyses revealed that developing knowledge maps fostered an ability to capture the target text’s argument, and linking students’ ideas to the text’s argument directly on the knowledge map helped students develop more constructive essays. Accordingly, we discussed additional necessary scaffolds, such as automatic argument detection and collaborative learning functions, for improving the students’ use of appropriate reading and writing strategies.
In an effort to create meaningful user experiences, instructional designers participate in continuous projection and reflection during design. Empathic design draws on instructional designers’ sensitivity toward their learners as a reference for design. Empathic forecasting, or predictions about an emotional reaction to future events, is an important influence on design in general and may be particularly meaningful for empathic design. This exploratory mixed-methods study examined how instructional designers’ imagined the cognitive and emotional learner experience as they designed a collaboration-based interactive case study to promote interaction and collaboration among physicians, radiobiologists, and radiation physicists. We employed a protocol analysis methodology to document the verbal exchanges of members of this design team during collaborative meetings. Online surveys that included scale-based ratings and short open-ended questions assessed learners’ perceptions of their instructional experience. Findings indicate that instructional designers visualized learner interaction with the Virtual Hospital, and emoted learner feelings with the activity while engaging in design. User results indicate that the outcome the instructional designers envisioned for the user experience aligned with user perceptions of their experiences during the activity.
A large-scale implementation of predictive learning analytics in higher education: the teachers’ role and perspective
By collecting longitudinal learner and learning data from a range of resources, predictive learning analytics (PLA) are used to identify learners who may not complete a course, typically described as being at risk. Mixed effects are observed as to how teachers perceive, use, and interpret PLA data, necessitating further research in this direction. The aim of this study is to evaluate whether providing teachers in a distance learning higher education institution with PLA data predicts students’ performance and empowers teachers to identify and assist students at risk. Using principles of Technology Acceptance and Academic Resistance models, a university-wide, multi-methods study with 59 teachers, nine courses, and 1325 students revealed that teachers can positively affect students’ performance when engaged with PLA. Follow-up semi-structured interviews illuminated teachers’ actual uses of the predictive data and revealed its impact on teaching practices and intervention strategies to support students at risk.
Metacognition in covariation reasoning relevant to performance achievement mediated by experiential values in a simulation game
The Chinese proverb “heal a headache by curing the head and heal foot pain by curing the feet” alludes to ineffective work resulting from a lack of covariation in reasoning. Actually, much problem solving relies on the analysis of how two or more factors vary in correlation with another related variant (i.e., covariation reasoning). To further investigate covariation reasoning and its related affective factors, we designed a website called “No Good (NG) Bread” for senior vocational high school students in Taipei who had taken baking courses for 1 year to apply their knowledge in solving baking-related problems. Data collected from 113 participants aged 16 to 17 were validated by confirmatory factor analysis using Visual PLS 1.04 to examine the interrelatedness among metacognition, experiential values, and performance achievement. The examination revealed that metacognition was positively related to hedonic and utilitarian experiential values, which were subsequently positively related to the students’ learning achievements. The results imply that websites can be developed for specialized courses, such as nursing or automobile repair, to develop students’ covariation reasoning for more effective problem solving.
Knowledge building is an innovative pedagogy aiming to transform students into expert-like knowledge workers. The purpose of this study was to foster teacher-education students’ design performance (i.e., observation, synthesis, ideation and prototypes) in a knowledge-building environment. The participants were 38 college students from a Taiwanese university. They were randomly assigned to eight groups. Each group used the Knowledge Forum—a computer-supported collaborative knowledge-building environment—to develop and discuss the design products of their choice. Data analysis focused on the groups’ online knowledge-building activities, online design thinking processes, and the relationship between them. In general, knowledge-building activities facilitated students’ design thinking. Specifically, we considered the extent to which student groups’ sustained online engagement and increased knowledge had a major impact on their design performance. Ways of applying knowledge-building principles to foster effective design processes are discussed.
Using feedback to promote student participation in online learning programs: evidence from a quasi-experimental study
How should learner analytics and different media be used to optimize feedback to increase students’ motivation and sense of learning community in online learning programs? This study was designed to examine the usage of feedback delivery methods (text only, video only, or both) and learner analytics (individual vs. class average) to answer the above question. Two consecutive surveys were administrated to the students of a series of online courses over four semesters which resulted in a sample of 96. Using this quasi-experimental design, we aimed to capture changes in students’ perceived feedback quality, motivation, and sense of learning community when different feedback delivery methods and learner analytics were introduced. The findings revealed that students who received both video and text feedback were least motivated and lowest in their sense of online learning community when compared with students who received just video or text feedback. No significant differences were found between students who received video or text feedback regarding motivation and their sense of learning community. The findings also showed that when sharing class average, students’ motivation decreased. This study provides insights into how instructors might use media and learner analytics when designing feedback to motivate and promote student learning in online learning programs.
Effects of robotics programming on the computational thinking and creativity of elementary school students
Around the world, programming education is actively promoted by such factors as economic and technical requirements. The use of a robot in programming education could help students understand computer-science concepts more easily. In this study we designed a course in programming a robot for elementary school students and investigated its effectiveness by implementing it in actual classes. We further examined the effects of students’ prior skills and of gender on the outcomes. In addition, we reviewed the applicable teaching and learning strategies in the field of robotics programming. Our course in programming a robot was implemented for 155 Korean elementary school students in the fifth and sixth grades. The course was conducted for 11 weeks. Our results show that teaching programming by using a robot significantly improved computational thinking and creativity. Computational thinking, however, was not significantly improved in the group that initially showed high scores. Further, creativity was improved more in girls than in boys, and the mean difference was statistically significant, but the difference in computational thinking was not. The implication of this study is that the best approach is to design a course in programming a robot and apply it in actual classrooms in order to discuss teaching and learning strategies according to students’ prior skills and their gender.
Exploring models for increasing the effects of school information and communication technology use on learning outcomes through outside-school use and socioeconomic status mediation: the Ecological Techno-Process
Based on the ecological theories of educational technology, this study explored models for effective information and communication technology (ICT) use on learning outcomes, mediated by outside-school ICT use and socioeconomic status (SES), using structural equation modeling (SEM). Four models were developed based on empirical findings and validated using the 2012 Taiwanese sample of the Program for International Student Assessment to demonstrate model exploration. The four models measure the effects of ICT use on learning outcomes from (A) parallel ICT use, (B) inside-school ICT use with outside-school ICT use mediation, (C) Model A with SES mediation, and (D) Model B with SES mediation. Data analysis results indicate that the four models fit empirical data; Models C and D (with SES mediation) are superior to Models A and B based on fit indices; Models A and B are superior to Models C and D based on information criteria; and Models B–D (with mediation) provide more educational meaning than does Model A (without mediation). The results suggest new variables (i.e. outside-school ICT use and SES) and a modeling technique focusing on mediation effects (i.e. SEM) may be used to promote educational technology development by improving the effect of inside-school ICT use on traditional learning outcomes.
Open data has potential value as a material for use in learning activities. However, approaches to harnessing this are not well understood or in mainstream use in education. In this research, early adopters from a diverse range of educational projects and teaching settings were interviewed to explore their rationale for using open data in teaching, how suitable activity designs could be achieved, and the practical challenges of using open data. A thematic analysis was conducted to identify patterns and relationships in these open data-based practices that have already emerged. A document analysis of teaching materials and other related artefacts was used to augment and validate the findings. Drawing on this, common approaches and issues are identified, and a conceptual framework to support greater use of open data by educators is described. This paper also highlights where existing concepts in education and educational technology research, including inquiry-based learning, authenticity, motivation, dialogue, and personalisation can help us to understand the value and challenges of using open data in education.
Virtual learning environments (VLEs) are web-based software systems that enable students to interact with their teachers and classmates, access learning resources without restriction of time and place, and use cutting-edge Information and Communication Technologies. Nevertheless, VLEs are costly to develop and maintain. Clearly, many features of VLEs may not be as useful to learners as designers and stakeholders might think, resulting in waste of resources. With this possibility in mind, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the features of the VLE employed at Middlesex University. To that end, first, a scale with 11 items and 3 sub-dimensions was developed and tested through exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses to identify student perceptions of the (1) benefit, (2) satisfaction, and (3) guidance, aiming at identifying student views on how beneficial the system was, whether they were satisfied with it, and how they perceived the guidance provided through it, respectively. Next, the scale was administered to a sample of 278 students to determine whether the perceptions differed depending on campus location, and grade level. Finally, questions were also asked to pinpoint the features of the VLE that the students found most useful and beneficial. Data were analysed through ANOVA, correlation, and rank analyses. Results show that the students’ perception of the VLE did not significantly differ based on campus location or grade level. Two features of the VLE—lecture capture and key concept videos—were the most beneficial resources for the students, whereas “lecture capture with PowerPoint slides and audio only,” discussion forums, and chat rooms, were not preferred. The students were not much enthusiastic to have access to blogs, audio/video conferencing facilities, wikis, or chat either.