In the information age, where all answers are just a click away, curiosity, the intrinsic drive to learn, becomes of paramount importance. How easy is it to prime for curiosity and what are its effects? What simple interventions can be used to enable curiosity-driven behaviors? We have conducted a large-scale study to address these questions, using a novel curiosity-based application (app) on university applicants. Using the same app, we addressed the issue of curiosity assessment, which in recent years has mainly been performed via self-reporting questionnaires. The curiosity assessment tool was developed in order to assess curiosity via an objective, quantitative and digital way. The tool measured several behavioral aspects during a free and task-less interaction with the tablet app. From the recorded activity logs we calculated quantitative behavioral measures related to their exploration patterns. We show that a single word can prime the participants and induce better learning of their self-explored knowledge. We also show that by simply enabling more time to explore, without the ability to stop at will, induces more exploration and more learning. Finally, we show that our behavioral measures, obtained with the digital quantitative assessment tool, are significant predictors of the participants’ self-reported curiosity and Psychometric Entrance Test scores. These results suggest that simple priming for curiosity and enabling enough time to explore improve self-paced learning, and that a relatively simple and short interaction with a digital app can greatly improve state-of-the-art curiosity assessment.
Effects of the flipped classroom instructional strategy on students’ learning outcomes: a meta-analysis
The flipped classroom instructional strategy is thought to be a good way to structure learning experiences to improve student learning outcomes. Many studies have been conducted to examine the effects of flipped classroom on student learning outcomes compared to the traditional classroom, but the results were inconclusive. The purpose of this study was to examine the overall effect of the flipped classroom instructional strategy on student learning outcomes in relation to a set of moderating variables including student levels, publication types, study durations, and subject area. This meta-analysis examined studies that compared classrooms that used the flipped classroom instructional strategy and classrooms that did not. Seventeen databases were searched to identify literature meeting our inclusion criteria and resulted in 55 publications with 115 effect size comparisons on cognitive student learning outcomes published between 2000 and 2016. Overall, we found a statistically significant effect size (g = 0.193; p < .001; with a 95% confidence interval of 0.113–0.274) in favor of the flipped classroom instructional strategy. The effect size data were normally distributed and exhibited statistically significant heterogeneity. The effect sizes were significantly moderated by subject area such as mathematics, science, social sciences, engineering, arts and humanities, health, and business. No evidence of publication bias was detected in these data. A full discussion of the findings and implications for educational practice and research were provided.
Behavior, perceptions and learning experience of undergraduates using social technologies during internship
Social technologies such as social networking sites, Wikis and blogs have gained popularity not only in social communication but also in other areas, such as in enhancing learning experience among students in tertiary education. This study investigated how blogs and Facebook scaffolded students’ learning during their internships in tertiary education. A mix-method approach was employed to examine students’ perceptions of blogs and Facebook in improving their internship learning experience. The results showed that blogs and Facebook encouraged students and facilitated their engagement in problem solving, information sharing and knowledge construction during their internships. In particular, Facebook showed more promising results, assisting students in reflecting on their experiences. Moreover, students acknowledged that Facebook was a better platform for online interaction and collaborative learning than blogs. This study provides empirical evidence for the use of social media tools in pedagogical scaffolding and collaborative learning during internships.
Experiential learning experiences in an online 3D virtual environment for mental health interviewing and diagnosis role-playing: a comparison of perceived learning across learning activities
Role-playing simulations can provide students with experiential learning opportunities to develop strong interviewing and diagnosis skills, and practice skills they are learning in their classes. In this study, students completed role-playing activities in an online 3D virtual counselor training facility, and interviewed “patient” avatars with mental illnesses to compare their learning with other typical learning activities. Through implementing instructional methods, an environment, “patient” avatars, and other resources created based on the instructional needs, the instructor, assistants, and students were provided an opportunity to use an online 3D virtual environment for experiential learning experiences. The results determined students perceived using an online 3D virtual environment as beneficial. Students reported they perceived that they learned more during their activities in the online 3D virtual environment than other learning activities and using an online 3D virtual environment for role-playing is an effective method to develop mental health interviewing and diagnosis skills.
Opportunities for educational innovations in authentic project-based learning: understanding instructor perceived challenges to design for adoption
Authentic project-based learning (APBL) is a highly effective way for instructors to help students learn disciplinary skills, modes of thinking, and collaborative practices by creating solutions to real-world problems for real users and clients. While educational technology innovations can bolster APBL by making a promising but challenging pedagogy more effective, as with many areas of education instructor adoption is slow. Diffusion of innovations theory predicts that instructors will adopt and maintain their use of innovations if innovations are perceived to, and then do, address their challenges. To guide design of future APBL technologies, we interviewed 47 university APBL instructors about their most significant challenges and inductively analyzed the resulting interview transcripts. APBL instructors reported interrelated challenges of: (a) scoping, sourcing challenges and balancing the needs of the program, students, and clients; (b) curriculum preparation, making the curriculum flexible enough for shifting project problems and codify standards to help students understand how to do quality work; (c) providing assistance to teams, including monitoring, and delivering assistance; and (d) coordinating a range of stakeholders involved in assisting teams, including co-instructors, clients, and students. To support instructor adoption in APBL, educational technology innovators might communicate existing technology, or create technological innovations, that provide: (a) scoping tools for sourcing projects, and forming teams; (b) authoring tools for sharing and remixing of curricular materials; (c) project management tools for team management and monitoring; and (d) coordination software to manage all APBL stakeholders.
Despite the positive potential of the online social networking platforms, the longitudinal studies regarding how children participate in digital storytelling communities is still scant in the literature. This study investigated how 26 elementary students participated in a 2-year digital storytelling community mediated by a social network application. By analyzing the students’ weekly responses, social networks, and their language learning performance, the results suggested that their oral reading proficiency improved along with their participation in the long-term activity. It was also found that the community features impacted the students’ sense of engagement in the activity. The feature of the learning community that allows students to team up with partners to complete a story improved their engagement and motivation. The social network analysis found that multiple literacies including multimedia processing, language, and collaboration were all considered by students as important criteria for the partnership to complete the collaborative digital storytelling work. However, such a prolonged collaborative digital storytelling activity also introduced new challenges for those students demonstrating unfavorable collaboration profiles as they needed to learn how to collaborate in order to team up with others. The implications of the findings for educational practice are discussed.
The roles of engagement and competition on learner’s performance and motivation in game-based science learning
In a game-based learning (GBL) environment for seventh-grade students, this study investigated the impact of competition, engagement in games, and the relationship between the two on students’ in-game performance and flow experience, which, in turn, impacted their science learning outcomes. Structural equation modeling was employed to test a hypothesized path model. The findings showed that students’ engagement in games not only predicted their in-game performance, but also had an impact on science learning outcomes via the mediation of in-game performance. While competition alone did not have a direct effect on either in-game performance or flow experience, it was indirectly related to in-game performance via the moderation of students’ engagement in games. The study concludes with implications for future GBL interventions and studies.
This study examines factors related to student self-efficacy beliefs in on-line groupwork. Participants in this study were 204 graduate students taking an online graduate-level course from a public university in the Southeast United States of America. Two-level hierarchical linear models were used to examine predictors of the students’ self-efficacy. Three student-level variables were found to be related to groupwork self-efficacy: individual’s willingness to handle groupwork challenge, trust relationship, and leadership influence. At the group level, the group’s willingness to handle groupwork challenge was positively related to individual student’s groupwork self-efficacy. Discussions of the findings suggest that leadership is important for groupwork. Instructors of online courses are recommended to design high-quality group projects that are purposeful, meaningful, challenging, and engaging. Communications between group members are also recommended to build trust. Implications of the findings to online learning and instruction as well as directions for future research are presented.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet : A study via metaphoric perceptions on how online feedback benefited Chinese learners
Theoretical claims about the benefits of online feedback suggest it can facilitate language learning. However, despite the calls for new digital literacies on language education, attitudes of educators have not been encouraging. To delve further into this issue, the present study addresses the following research concerns: (1) learners’ metaphoric perceptions of online feedback, (2) how metaphoric perceptions show the impact of online feedback on language learning, and (3) the messages educators can glean through these metaphoric perceptions. A subsequent question would be what new insights we can gain by asking students to reflect on online feedback via metaphors not unearthed by previous research using more traditional means. We argue that different methods should be used based on student differences and the contextual realities of the learning setting. Participants are introverted Chinese novice learners who are not accustomed to technology-enhanced teaching/learning and are restrained in the open expression of their feelings and thoughts. Given participants’ backgrounds, the use of metaphors enables them to express their reflective thinking in a more profound manner. Therefore, the findings of the present study, i.e., learners’ metaphoric thoughts, are considered timely and can be used in academic training to address the necessity of applying different approaches to different types of students. They can also showcase the impact of online feedback on introverted learners. Together, these findings can encourage educators to consider changing their attitudes regarding educational technology.
Solving instructional design dilemmas to develop a Video Enhanced Rubric with modeling examples to support mental model development of complex skills: the Viewbrics-project use case
For learners, it can be difficult to imagine how to perform a complex skill based on textual information from solely a text-based analytic rubric. Rubrics lack (1) the contextual information needed to convey real-world attributes (2) the dynamic information (such as gesturing in the complex skill of presenting) (3) the procedural information required to support the automation of constituent skills. We propose to address the text-based rubric’s deficiencies by adding video-modeling examples, self-explanation prompts, an intertwined educational- and instructional narrative, natural segmentation, and a non-verbal script. With the resulting Video Enhanced Rubric, we aim to improve the formative assessment of complex skills by fostering learner’s mental model development, feedback quality, and complex skill mastery. Designing multimedia to support the formative assessment of complex skills using can cause dilemmas for instructional designers. For example, is learner control needed to foster intrinsic motivation or is it deemed to create extraneous cognitive load? Is it wise to use a video modeling example of peer-aged learners when the model does not display perfect performance? We found seven dilemmas around proven complex skill development, motivational design, and multimedia design guidelines. This paper presents a theoretical contribution to instructional design by introducing a framework to address dilemmas regarding such design dilemmas. As a practical contribution, we support educational researchers and practitioners by presenting six practical guidelines for designing a Video Enhanced Rubric. A use case of the Viewbrics-project provides insight into the practical application of the framework within the context of Dutch pre-university education.
Employing phenomenological techniques this qualitative study investigates perceptions of collaborative relationships between instructional designers and faculty at an R1 university. While past research has considered the growing involvement of instructional designers in course development, and knowledge and skills expected from an instructional designer, little attention has been paid to what constitutes an effective collaboration and how it can be developed from the perspectives of both instructional designers and faculty. Based on semi-structured interviews of faculty and instructional designers, the following four thematic categories were uncovered: (1) reasons for collaborative efforts; (2) structure of collaborative relationships; (3) supports of and barriers to collaboration; and (4) essential competencies and strategies for instructional designers and faculty in a collaborative partnership. Our findings support the existing research on the importance of collaboration between instructional designers and faculty, and spotlights instructional designers in the higher education setting. They also outline key elements of an effective relationship, including understanding the role of an instructional designer, trust and rapport building (and its components), administrative support and faculty buy-in. Suggestions are made for to how overcome potential barriers to ensure an effective and collaborative partnership. Implications and future directions for research and training programs are discussed.
A Multi-touch table functions as a tablet, but allows multiple children to move around and manipulate the screen simultaneously. Using social cognitive theory (Bandura 1997) to analyze group dynamics, this study examined computer-supported collaborative learning. Children were observed and recorded for 20 min, three times a week for 5 weeks as they manipulated apps developed by Kaplan Early Learning Company for the multi-touch table Engage-2. Results indicate that the ability of multiple children to manipulate an app simultaneously encouraged collaboration while issues of personal space were rarely present. Multiple problem-solving strategies were in evidence as the children manipulated the apps. Results suggests that individual agency turned into collective agency during the app play.
A learning analytics dashboard enables teachers and students to monitor and reflect on their online teaching and learning patterns. This study was a review of prior studies on learning analytics dashboards to show the need to develop an instrument for measuring dashboard success. An early version of the instrument based on the framework of Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluation was revised through expert reviews and exploratory factor analysis. The instrument contains five criteria: visual attraction, usability, level of understanding, perceived usefulness, and behavioral changes. The validity of the instrument was subsequently tested with factor analysis. A total of 271 samples from students who utilized a learning analytics dashboard for one semester were collected and analyzed using structural equation modeling. In the model with fair fit, the visual attraction and usability of the dashboard significantly affected the level of understanding, and level of understanding affected perceived usefulness, which in turn significantly affected potential behavior changes. The findings of this study have implications for designers who want to develop successful learning analytics dashboards, and further research is suggested related to measuring the cross validity of the evaluation instrument to broaden its usage.
This large-scale study used the extended technology acceptance model to examine the different factors influencing Chinese university students’ intentions to use the Internet-based technology with a learning focus. Specifically, the subject norm was conceptualised as a three-dimensional construct consisting of teacher influence, peer influence and institutional support. The data were collected from 4561 university students from 16 universities in China. The results indicated that 64% of the variance in Chinese university students’ behavioural intentions were explained by their perceptions of ease of use and that the subjective norm significantly influenced their perceptions of the usefulness of the Internet-based technology with a learning focus. Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use and the subjective norm significantly influenced students’ attitudes towards using the Internet-based technology with a learning focus. In addition, Chinese university students’ intentions to use the Internet-based technology with a learning focus were significantly influenced by attitude, perceived usefulness and the subjective norm. This study identified both theoretical and practical explanations for these relationships.
Ask Dr. Discovery: the impact of a casual mobile game on visitor engagement with science museum content
This study examines the impact of a mobile game app on science museum visitors’ level of engagement with exhibit content, compared to a non game-based version of the same app. Ask Dr. Discovery (Dr. D) is a question-asking app containing two versions: a Game Mode employing casual game mechanics and an Ask Mode providing a baseline version. We implemented both versions of Dr. D at two science museums located in the Southwestern United States with 1539 participants. In both conditions, participants could type or speak questions to receive vetted answers about museum content, but only Game Mode embedded question-asking within a simple game. Participants’ level of engagement was represented by the number of questions asked about exhibit content in Dr. D. Additionally, we explored the relationship between app engagement and participants’ self-reported level of interest in science. All participants completed pre- and post-questionnaires with questions related to science interest, impressions of the Dr. D app, and demographic information. Results in both museums indicated that users of Game Mode asked nearly twice as many questions on average as participants using Ask Mode. Science interest predicted engagement at one of two sites. Demographic variables, including gender, age, and race/ethnicity were not found to influence the rate of question asking in either mode. These results indicate that employing simple game mechanics in apps for museum visitors may lead to strong positive impacts on visitor engagement with museum content.
Investigating the feasibility of using assessment and explanatory feedback in desktop virtual reality simulations
There is great potential in making assessment and learning complementary. In this study, we investigated the feasibility of developing a desktop virtual reality (VR) laboratory simulation on the topic of genetics, with integrated assessment using multiple choice questions based on item response theory (IRT) and feedback based on the cognitive theory of multimedia learning. A pre-test post-test design was used to investigate three research questions related to: (1) students’ perceptions of assessment in the form of MC questions within the VR genetics simulation; (2) the fit of the MC questions to the assumptions of the partial credit model (PCM) within the framework of IRT; and (3) if there was a significant increase in intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy, and transfer from pre- to post-test after using the VR genetics simulation as a classroom learning activity. The sample consisted of 208 undergraduate students taking a medical genetics course. The results showed that assessment items in the form of gamified multiple-choice questions were perceived by 97% of the students to lead to higher levels of understanding, and only 8% thought that they made the simulation more boring. Items within a simulation were found to fit the PCM and the results showed that the sample had a small significant increase in intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy, and a large significant increase in transfer following the genetics simulation. It was possible to develop assessments for online educational material and retain the relevance and connectedness of informal assessment while simultaneously serving the communicative and credibility-based functions of formal assessment, which is a great challenge facing education today.
Enhancing pre-service teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK): a mixed-method study
The main aim of this two-step mixed-method study was to explore the effectiveness of the strategies used to prepare pre-service teachers for technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK). Specifically, we focused on the strategies included in the synthesis of qualitative evidence (SQD) model: (1) using teacher educators as role models, (2) reflecting on the role of technology in education, (3) learning how to use technology by design, (4) collaboration with peers, (5) scaffolding authentic technology experiences, and (6) providing continuous feedback. To explore the relation between the perceived occurrences of the SQD-strategies and TPACK (controlled for pre-service teachers’ general attitudes towards technology), survey data were collected from a sample of 688 final-year pre-service teachers in Belgium. In a next step, 16 telephone interviews and 6 in-depth interviews were conducted to gain a more in-depth insight into the nature of the 6 strategies and their influences on TPACK. The quantitative analyses indicated positive correlations between the SQD-strategies and TPACK, controlled for general attitudes towards technology. The findings from the qualitative analyses showed that teachers acknowledged the importance of the six strategies. However, the respondents emphasized that some of the six strategies are often underutilized. Based on the quantitative and qualitative results, the discussion provides recommendations to improve the potential of pre-service training to enhance future teachers’ TPACK.
The influence of multimedia development knowledge and workplace pressures on the design decisions of the instructional designer
This study explored the interaction of multimedia production competencies of expert and novice instructional designers on the design decisions made during the instructional design process/workflow. This multiple measures study used qualitative survey instruments to access and measure the production competencies of participants, then a design aloud protocol to capture and measure the instructional design decision-making process for those same participants. A follow-on interview after the initial design aloud session was conducted in order to triangulate and confirm any trends or findings uncovered during the earlier design aloud session. Ultimately, the objective of this study was to provide some evidence that suggests whether certain production skills are influencing instructional design decision-making. Employer influence on the instructional designer’s decision-making was also explored. Results indicated that a substantial number of instructional designers (n = 30) who participated in this study were selecting media as a preliminary step in their workflow process, and were often then using analysis as a measure to confirm the early media selection. Expert instructional designers appeared to be less susceptible to the early media selection behavior, though not immune. Results indicate that one reason the expert instructional designers were less likely to adopt media as a preliminary instructional design step was that the experts conducted a more diverse set of analysis activities. Additionally, results indicated that instructional designers were often experiencing pressure to adopt media based on employer demands, and project constraints such as budget and time.
Current problem-solving research has advanced our understanding of the problem-solving process but has provided little advice on how to teach problem-solving skills. In addition, literature reveals that individual difference is an essential issue in problem-solving skills instruction but has been rarely addressed in current research. Building upon information-processing theory, this article proposes an instructional design model, namely the situational design model, which serves as an approach to accommodate individual difference in problem-solving skills instruction. This design model was further examined with a pilot study in an introductory technology course and results showed a significant difference in students’ academic performance and problem-solving skills, especially the non-recurrent skills. The proposed situational design model contributes to research and practice by providing a novel lens to explore problem-solving skills and assisting in the design of instruction that aims to develop student’s expertise in solving real world problems.
Learning the effects of proximity and distance in collaborative work and understanding the challenges and possibilities of information technology use in distributed teams can be challenging for students. This paper describes a LEGO® simulation-based training program and shows how the use of LEGO bricks and a videoconferencing platform can help students experience computer-supported collaboration firsthand. Students who participated in simulation-based training sessions adopted different work coordination and information sharing strategies. The working patterns observed during three different simulation-based training sessions were analyzed based on the literature on collaborative work. Findings show that using LEGO bricks to recreate “real-life” situations allows students to immediately immerse themselves in the challenges faced by “virtual workers” and more easily and fully understand and integrate theoretical concepts related to collaborative work and computer-supported collaboration.