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Can Students Collaboratively Use Hypermedia to Learn Science? The Dynamics of Self-And Other-Regulatory Processes in an Ecology Classroom

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Journal of Educational Computing Research Volume 31, Number 3, ISSN 0735-6331


This classroom study examined the role of low-achieving students' self-regulated learning (SRL) behaviors and their teacher's scaffolding of SRL while using a Web-based water quality simulation environment to learn about ecological systems. Forty-nine 11th and 12th grade students learned about ecology and the effects of land use on water quality by collaboratively using the RiverWeb SM water quality simulation (WQS) during a two-week curriculum on environmental science. The students' emerging understanding was assessed using pretest and posttest scores. Students' self-regulatory behaviors and teacher's scaffolding of SRL were assessed through an analysis of their discourse during several collaborative problem-solving episodes. Findings indicate that students learned significantly more about ecology after working collaboratively with the WQS. However, these learning gains were quite small and were related to the self-regulatory behaviors observed in the dyads and their teacher's scaffolding and instruction. Analyses of video data indicate that a large amount of time was spent by the dyads and teacher in using only a few strategies, while very little time was spent on planning, monitoring, and handling task difficulties and demands. Further analysis revealed that both the dyads and teacher were using low-level strategies (e.g., following procedural tasks, evaluating the content, searching, and selecting informational sources in the WQS) to learn about the topic. Our results provide a valuable initial characterization of the complexity of self-and other-regulated learning in a complex, dynamic, technology-enhanced, student-centered science classroom. We discuss how the results will be used to inform the design of computers as MetaCognitive tools designed to foster students' learning of conceptually challenging science topics.


Azevedo, R., Winters, F.I. & Moos, D.C. (2004). Can Students Collaboratively Use Hypermedia to Learn Science? The Dynamics of Self-And Other-Regulatory Processes in an Ecology Classroom. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 31(3), 215-245. Retrieved June 6, 2020 from .

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