Students' use of a hypermedia tool for freshman chemistry
Marie Nadine Majors Canady, University of Michigan, United States
University of Michigan . Awarded
Research indicates that hypermedia learning environments HLEs can assist students with concept development in science. This study focused on the interaction of task elements and individual characteristics that were relevant to students using HLEs and may have influenced their use. Seeing Through Chemistry hypermedia study tool, designed at the University of Michigan to assist students in freshman chemistry with conceptual development, was the selected HLE. Acids and Bases Inquiry Questions was the selected assignment. The Target Group, consisting of 12 students, was created from a stratified random sample of 132 participating students.
The findings indicated a relationship between students' activated levels of individual characteristics and their physical and mindful engagement with the HLE. Three students, reporting low or moderate prior knowledge, and high motivation and persistence in an effort to master the task content (but not innovativeness), were high physically and mindfully engaged, affording them the opportunity to achieve maximum learning from the tool. Nine students, reporting high, moderate or low prior knowledge, low motivation, persistence and innovativeness or a failure to be persistent and innovative, tended to achieve low or moderate physical and mindful engagement, thus greatly lessening their opportunity to learn. They completed the assignment by relying primarily on prior knowledge and/or the system's model answers.
Students' failure to achieve high physical and mindful engagement was also related to specific HLE task aspects such as failing to understand the learning objectives of the task content and medium, failing to understand the evaluation criteria and how well their assignment met the criteria or objectives, and not considering the HLE's design features useful. Students' reported difficulty with the HLE was related to their inability to perform nonlinear navigation and a preference for using the tool like a textbook.
The findings indicate that designing good HLEs requires educators to incorporate into the software a method of encouraging students to master task content and/or check the accuracy of their understanding and a component to assist students to use HLE capabilities and, in addition, to provide instructors with instructions on the proper use of the tool in the classroom.
Canady, M.N.M. Students' use of a hypermedia tool for freshman chemistry. Ph.D. thesis, University of Michigan.
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