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Thursday, 11 October 2007
Trying to figure out my design!
Mood:  irritated
Now Playing: the noises of the house and the housemates
Topic: LP Software

I'm trying to figure out why I made the glass-box the way it is ... that is, why I don't show all the steps rather than ask them to click iteration for each ... and for the life of me I can't remember why. I've checked my meeting notes but not able to see anything there or either in this blog. I think the reason it's because I inherited the style from the expected-values pilot study, since I did it that way for each section in the expected values.

Well, so in fact the glass-box may not be completely glass-box -well its in a sense, but it doesn't show all the steps with one click, you've got to do several clicks to get all the steps. I felt and I vaguely remember I did it this way so, it would be somewhat mid-way between the OB and the BB. I think I had two options, I could have made it more BB looking (i.e. one click and just all the steps shown) or more OB looking (click iteration for each of the steps to appear). I guess at the time I was thinking about the amount of interaction the student had withe the software and with GB they had more interaction. So, is it really GB? I think it is, it's GB with interaction. Perhaps in future studies, one can look at GB with and without interaction.

Now, why did I choose GB with interaction rather than GB without interaction ... this is what I'm uncertain of. I know I wanted it to be closer to OB but why? Well, I had two choices really, and I wanted to end up with a Latin square design ... so only could do three anyhow. I think I wanted to look at whether the level of interaction would affect how the participant uses the software and as I had already drop one level of interaction in the OB, this was a compromise situation. In the GB with interactions, calculations were shown at each step and still maintains the phenomena of a GB. I don't know if that is a strong case - but there it is. So, we really have three levels: no interaction (BB), some interaction (GB) and lots of interaction (OB). So, it is somewhat on a scale. We can also have it has no steps (BB); steps shown in a modular fashion (GB); and steps determined by user and shown in a modular fashion (OB).

Posted by prejudice at 9:05 PM BST
Friday, 5 October 2007
The Hunt for Participants Continues!
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Another Day In Paradise (Phil Collins)
Topic: Data Collection

Well, again I've put up adverts on facebook ... this time I'm trying on the marketplace for London, Manchester etc. (pay US$4 to advertise it in a noticeable place - this is just a test - just want to see if it will work) - if that fails got to go back to my flyers I guess.

And E. hasn't replied me as yet - maybe she isn't so keen in doing it again ... feeling a bit as if this thing is running away with me again. Got to contact R. and see if he can get me some more participants. Got to be on the ball on this - otherwise this might stretch till Dec., and that won't be good.

On a brighter note, I've made a really detailed plan on my thesis outline - so I really can see how the story can be told - just got to flesh it out now :D.

Posted by prejudice at 2:29 PM BST
Thursday, 27 September 2007
Skype works!!!
Mood:  happy
Now Playing: When You Were Sweet Sixteen (Perry Como)
Topic: Data Collection

Well, after much worrying and testing (with Macs and PCs), changes in Ports ... I've finally hit on the problem why I was unable to receive Skype video. As it seems, when I upgraded Skype, it seems that caused me not to receive video ... but once I downgraded it work. And just in time as well!!

I have data collection this afternoon with a student from Bristol ... but I do so need more undergraduate students from the UK ... if anyone is reading out there - HELP ME!! I thought the 10 pound voucher was sufficient incentive but it seems it wasn't - well at least not for the facebookers for whom I've been advertising constantly with ... I got to try some other forums.

 I'm going to advertise again sometime next week ... hopefully I can get some. I've only got 3 proper data collections and I need to get 33 more ... I've still got one to finish off from E., so that will make it 4. So, need to just talk to her and see what happens. Also, got to see whether Amalia and Ritchie would try and get some more for me. Should be testing the webcam and application sharing with Amalia today in UWI. Because she said she might be able to get some from there for me. So, we'll see :D.

Posted by prejudice at 7:58 AM BST
Tuesday, 18 September 2007
Getting worried about data collection ....
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Listening to the workmen pound at something
Topic: Data Collection

Well, it's almost October and I've only collected data for 2 persons ... although I really didn't get the equipment etc. working properly till about late August ... but still, that is really no excuse when you need to get your work done and your PhD submitted on time.

So, getting really worried about that ... and I feel as if I'm not making sufficient progress in my work as I should ... hopefully things should pick up by next week ... anyway, off to supervision now.

Posted by prejudice at 1:58 PM BST
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
Facebook flyer
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: To Where You Are (Josh Groban)
Topic: Data Collection

Well ... I decided to advertise to recruit students using the facebook flyer ... I'm not sure if this will generate any response but I have it posted over the next two days ... so will see what happens ... it is supposed to have 5000 views (that should generate some response ... shouldn't it?)

Anyway, if all else fails ... I go home in August ... I'm gonna recruit some people from there and if not there well ... then it is going to be in the OU!

Well, we shall see how this goes.

Posted by prejudice at 2:18 PM BST
Thursday, 12 July 2007
PME Conference
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: PME president talking :)
Topic: Seminars
I'm at the PME conference at the moment and so far it is going well ... although the lunches could be better :D. My presentation is this afternoon ... hopefully it will go well but not sure ... bit nervous about getting hard questions and I'm not certain if I've practiced enough. Well ... right now in the PME AGM but going to slip out soon and go practice my presentation soon. And I'm only doing this to fulfil my obligation of writing in my blog :) ... because forgot to do it before I left.

Posted by prejudice at 3:54 AM BST
Thursday, 28 June 2007
Theoretical Frameworks
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Lovenworth (Roy Rogers)
Topic: Analytical Frameworks

Well, during the CALRG conference I was trying to put together the theories I'm using and how they relate to my research. So, just going to type up my ramblings on this.

First thing is that although I'm looking at individual learning there is no negation of the fact that social learning does help students to learn as well, however, initially particularly in a distance and e-learning context, a student will initially interact with materials/computers and this is the individual learning. Further in a information transmission mode of most lecture halls of universities the same may also occur.

Question: Which theories help to measure/ describe individual learning?

Well ... not certain about but got some stuff here that students who do individual particularly in an e-learning context will tend to interrogate their material (perhaps!) and have some sort of interaction. I have a note here saying that is perhaps co-construction - but for the life of me I can't think why? Could be that I think through the interaction of the software and they self-explain to themselves can start make meaning of what they're doing and whilst this is not collaborative with a person it is collaborative with the computer.

So, I've been looking up individual learning theories on the internet as well and I came across these two websites: Theories of learning and Individual theories. I think those two web-sites might be useful.

Looking through the first website, the Sensory Stimulation Theory (Laird, 1985) seems to be linked to the computer-interaction learning and I'm guessing one of the basis for multimedia learning theory as effective learning occurs when the senses are stimulated. I can't think of the boxes doing any effective sensory stimulation as there is mostly text and this is mostly visual. There is no hearing stimulation unless wants to count me prompting the student to do something. But I think whilst in the visual there is text, there can also be animation. Whilst the boxes don't have high levels of animation or not one might consider animation, there is a sort of interactivity animation. I can see the glass-box being a full animation, the open-box a mixture of animation and interactivity and the the black-box with no animation or interactivity.

The second theory that strikes me is the adult learning (andragogy) (Knowles, 1990) in that adult learners need to see applications to new learning - I'm not quite sure if I'm interpreting this right but I'm thinking that adult learners need to make connections to real world applications. As I'm using undergraduate students is this something will be likely to exist - are they really adult learners? But I did notice in my pilot studies the more mature students liked to connect stuff to real world. But perhaps this comes from the social-constructivist theories that each learner is unique and has unique backgrounds and probably more likely to connect to things that are specifically related to them and this shapes what they find important or what knowledge they connect.

There is also the cognitive gestalt which I'm more keen in exploring and I quote from the first website:

"The emphasis here is on the importance of experience, meaning, problem-solving and the development of insights (Burns 1995, p.112). Burns notes that this theory has developed the concept that individuals have different needs and concerns at different times, and that they have subjective interpretations in different contexts"

This seem to incorporate my feelings on adult-learning and social-constructivism as this recognises that individuals have different needs and have different subjective interpretations and it is not beyond belief that everyone will have this based on their social culture.  Also, that the development of insights or problem-solving and finding of meaning can also be influenced in the way that the information is produced to the student - hence the reason for multimedia learning theory perhaps using cognitive load theory.

So, for me definitely cognitive theory is the way to go now don't know how to make the jump to cognitive load theory but structured problems such as maths have been explained using cognitive load theory ... so just going to skip to that and find out the connection later.

Well, there are several parts of CLT that may apply to my work and I think the two parts (which Sweller(2005) refers to as instructional consequences) that has the most influence are:

  1. Self-explanation - unfortunately don't know which loads it affect - I think when a student self-explain the germane load perhaps increases? Got to check this
  2. Reversal-expertise effect - can't remember which load this affects either but I think students using the open-box are more likely to experience this if they were able to figure out early what was going on - but not likely to happen if they still haven't found out the rule for application - i think in this case initially the germane load increases but as their expertises increase their extraneous load increase and thereby decreasing germane load.

Right ... so, I think those are the two things most likely to influence my research why I am not dealing with the rest don't know ... hmm ... let's list the rest based on Sweller (2005) paper from the Multimedia Learning Handbook:

  1. Worked example effect: students do better if there is a worked example provided. Works by reducing extraneous load
  2. Split-attention effect: attention split between multiple visual sources. Increases extraneous load
  3. Modality effect: similar to split-attention except this is reduced by incorporating verbal (said aloud) rather than as text. Decreases extraneous load
  4. Redundancy effect: Having several sources of the same information e.g. diagram with text rather than having to integrate mentally the diagram and then a textual explanation. Reduces extraneous load by removing the redundancy
  5. Expertise reversal effect: multiple/ dual sources of information lose their advantage as the learner because more of an expert. Guessing it increases extraneous load but not explicitly stated.

Alright, so that somewhat covers my cognitive load theory ... how do I incorporate the multimedia learning theory? Sure we know that animation and text affects the way that students learn ... that comes from the modality effect in cognitive load theory but what about interactivity. Can't recall if Mayer did any work in that. I think that is perhaps where self-explanations come into it - with prompts? Is interactivity a prompt perhaps? Hmm ... too lazy to look ... was looking through the multimedia learning handbook and didn't find anything so not going to go hunting at the moment.

We also have the problem-solving phenomenon of backward fading and forward-fading by Renkl and Atkinson but this is obviously linked to the worked example effect. There is no fading as far as I can see in the boxes ... perhaps although in some way one can in a stretch propose that the open-box is acting as a forward fading problem - nah perhaps, if we were going from the black-box, glass-box to the open-box then one might claim that is a sort of backward fading but don't think it would fit as well in this context.

Posted by prejudice at 12:01 PM BST
Updated: Thursday, 28 June 2007 3:29 PM BST
Monday, 25 June 2007
Getting one participant!
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: You Were Meant For Me (Jewel)
Topic: Data Collection

Well ... Gill has said that Esther will do my study next week ... so, I think that is great news!!

Only thing is that Esther doesn't know that as yet. I've talked to Anne F. and she has said I can use Amazon vouchers to pay people. So, I have that outlet.

And if all fails I can still use UWI students hopefully :D.

Posted by prejudice at 3:08 PM BST
Thursday, 14 June 2007
Remote Observation - seems to be working
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: The Sermon of Samson (Bobby Darin)
Topic: Methodology

Well, I've tried the remote observation again behind the firewall (on the LAN) and it seems to be working there ... interesting ... tried it there yesterday and today - and I don't know why - but it is working - hoping it is not a server glitch and it comes all crashing down :).

However, it works on Windows Live Messenger - I think! Well, I can get webcam in - but can't get webcam out ... well that was yesterday - not sure about today.

But everything works perfectly on Skype!! So, that's great I can use that but it is not so ubiquitous as Messenger ... so got to test back messenger to see what happens. Although, I kind of like Skype's application sharing thing a lot more ....

Posted by prejudice at 4:55 PM BST
Alternative theories
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Sway (Dean Martin)
Topic: Literature Review

So, went to the OpenLearn reading group session on action research and whilst I was there whatever they were saying got me thinking about the writing of my literature review. So, I think these are some of the theories I'll have to think off when I'm writing up as alternative theories that could have been used.

First, the first thing that struck me is that when the students are learning an activity is in the method I'm doing (single user in one episode of learning), learning may not be limited to that time or episode but instead continues (the concept of action research research - I think), and this learning here can be connected to future episodes of learning, although practically thinking this will be difficult to follow - but this is the way conceptual knowledge - linking up bits of knowledge - but isn't this therefore a constructivist approach - although not necessarily a linear way as is suggested I think in earlier theories (as well as in cognitive load theory).

Also, in such an activity (as in my method) - students do not have time for reflection, they're tested then and immediately - which I can live with - but why academically I can live with it ... not sure. Is there truly any period of physical time that can be allocated for reflection. In a sense I'm hoping they would have more reflection occurring during the use of the software - perhaps an acceleration to the reflection they would normally have ... ok, probably not an acceleration - but another medium for causing reflection. I'm thinking this reflection is the self-explanations that the students come up with.

Further, there are the social learning theories that I've ignored in this study, as students do discuss and share ideas and are then able to improve their concepts or develop a 'community of learning' - this doesn't happen here as I'm looking at individual learning in a specific episode or moment. Whilst there is an agreement that there is merit in social learning or discursive types, perhaps what I'm trying to see is how a student learning in the first instance by themselves such as in distance learning or e-learning might be influenced or even in classrooms where discussion is not encouraged or where there is mostly a transmission mode. Whilst one do not want these modes of teaching (or may want it - if they're a strategic/surface learner) it occurs quite regularly and hence nothing to ignore and this may more than likely be the way things are transmitted in undergraduate classes - as innovative learning methods are not often used at this level (well I think so!).

Anyway, what I'm saying is that although social learning may have its merits there are often cases where students do learn as an individual first and it is this is which we want to measure - the first instant of their learning what is occurring and if we can perhaps improve their first instant of learning perhaps their social learning might be more meritorious? Besides, I don't think maths/ linear programming lends itself easily as a subject for discussion or to look at collaborative learning ... well, perhaps it does - but perhaps I can look at that in my future research - does collaborative learning improve the conceptual knowledge which is elicited by these boxes?

Posted by prejudice at 4:52 PM BST

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