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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
Thursday, 24 May 2007
Theoretical Frameworks
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Ye Raat Bheegi Bheegi (Chori Chori)
Topic: Analytical Frameworks

So, had a meeting with Doug and James yesterday where we discussed theoretical frameworks - that's still take sometime to get my head around it. Anyway, we were talking about constructivists theory which I barely have any clue of ... but they seem to think by the time I finish my literature review, I should know all the constructivist theories and be able to mention Piaget, Vygotsky, Bruner and Ausubel with some authority ... I've only got so far as learning their names!!!

Anyway, Doug was telling me that some researchers believe that construtivist theories cannot be applied to higher-learning as the information process is more complex ... also, I have to say why I'm not looking at socio-constructivist theories and I think my argument might be there is that the person is engaging with the software and also as this is sort of a e-learning model which is what the world is evolving to more and more (such as OpenLearn), students are more likely to on their first reading of my materials be on their own and cannot be extended into a social place until later and is that this understanding which is being measured, as it is likely that this (i.e. initial perception) would shape their attitudes towards the topic. Ok ... that's the best argument I can come up with so far.

 James and Doug want me to start writing my literature section soon and thought I should start with the cognitive load theory and point them in some direction of the important papers for them that they should read to get their heads around it. And possibly once the literature section is looking good, we can then pass it onto John to comment.

Posted by prejudice at 3:50 PM BST
Thursday, 3 May 2007
Theoretical Frameworks
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Noisy workmen from the Jennie Lee Building
Topic: Analytical Frameworks

Well, yesterday I had supervision which was surprisingly quick (finishing in about 10-15 mins) - guess there wasn't a lot going on at the moment since I just came back from vacation and spent all of last week writing the CAL paper (which wasn't so good - but got sent off anyhow!).

Anyway, James said the dreaded phrase yesterday "theoretical frameworks"! He wants me to get one ... to return to the literature ... to start thinking about how I'm going to write the literature .... updating the literature etc. and not to mention weaving a story of theories to develop this mythical theoretical framework ... wonder if I can get some leprechaun to grant me three wishes, one being to get a theoretical framework! (ok - never mind that who wants to waste their wishes on theoretical frameworks!)

Anyway, he suggested I read a paper by Yvonne Rogers, which whilst interesting to some degree I couldn't for the life of me see how it could help me develop a theoretical framework. I couldn't even see a theory in there that could help me understand what I'm doing better ... perhaps he was alluding to external cognition, perhaps I should look that up some more later, sounds like a nice catch phrase. Probably can dazzle people with that term.

Anyway, we are meeting on the 23rd to discuss my progress on a theoretical framework and I have no idea what they actually expect from me at that point? Am I suppose to submit a paper on some thoughts? Or just a discussion? Being me - who tends to get quite tongue-tied when a discussion starts up and I have to defend my view - I think I'm going to go with giving them a paper (as short as possible!).

Posted by prejudice at 4:16 PM BST
Monday, 12 February 2007
Conceptual and Procedural knowledge
Mood:  hug me
Now Playing: Sweet Caroline (Frank Sinatra)
Topic: Analytical Frameworks

Well, doug and James suggested I go back and decide what kind of LP problems I can formulate to measure conceptual and procedural knowledge ... and the problem is ... I don't know how!! First of all I don't understand what procedural (ok I know that one) but I don't know what conceptual knowledge is in relationship to LP!!! The literature often talks about connecting different pieces of knowledge (and this usually means different types of representation of materials such as in graphs, algebra, matrices etc) ... but I don't want to get into that domain, that is not what I want to measure, I want to know if my BB, WB and GB helps in anyway to conceptual knowledge without the added variable of multiple representations.

As far as I can see, it can only add procedural knowledge and in some conditions probably zero procedural knowledge, probably if I found one that added conceptual knowledge one can acknowledge there is a link between procedural and conceptual knowledge? Which I highly doubt there is.

I'm beginning to doubt myself at the moment (I remember that was one of the stages in the PhD) whether I have a PhD researchable topic! Oh well, let's see what this week brings.

Posted by prejudice at 2:24 PM GMT
Thursday, 13 July 2006
Trouche's paper
Mood:  chillin'
Now Playing: O Holy Night (Josh Groban) - Christmas music in July!
Topic: Analytical Frameworks
Well, I went and looked for Trouche's paper and found it - unfortunately it is in French! My high school french couldn't really do justice to the paper, but got Google to help me translate some stuff. I don't think there was anything too different what I got from Artigue's paper, except got all 5 of the profiles and how he categorised these students.

He did mention that these profiles are for the extreme cases of the students, and it is not likely you can peg students with one profile.

However, he was using the TI-82 and TI-92 calculators (one for symbolic representation and the other for graphical presentation) and he seemed more to deal with how students interact with the software such as the zooming function and the commands and switching between windows etc. i.e. things that were specific to these calculators rather than looking how students use technology to learn, I was hoping for something more like the exploration of numbers etc., but he tended to look at the time they used the calculator for a task and also when they did collaborative work with a partner or use pen and paper. Can't remember he mentioning much about the pen/paper (then again my french - il est terrible!) So, probably skipped it over somewhere.

Anyway, so don't think I'll be using those strategies.

I've tried to find the one by Goos et al, unfortunately we don't subscribe to that journal (Mathematics Education Research Journal its published in Australia)- so means I've got to order it - but will only order it if I think it is necessary, the information provided by Galbraith seems sufficient.

Posted by prejudice at 1:59 PM BST

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