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ERIC Number: EJ1106937
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2469-9896
Factors Affecting Learning of Vector Math from Computer-Based Practice: Feedback Complexity and Prior Knowledge
Heckler, Andrew F.; Mikula, Brendon D.
Physical Review Physics Education Research, v12 n1 p010134-1-010134-15 Jan-Jun 2016
In experiments including over 450 university-level students, we studied the effectiveness and time efficiency of several levels of feedback complexity in simple, computer-based training utilizing static question sequences. The learning domain was simple vector math, an essential skill in introductory physics. In a unique full factorial design, we studied the relative effects of "knowledge of correct response" feedback and "elaborated feedback" (i.e., a general explanation) both separately and together. A number of other factors were analyzed, including training time, physics course grade, prior knowledge of vector math, and student beliefs about both their proficiency in and the importance of vector math. We hypothesize a simple model predicting how the effectiveness of feedback depends on prior knowledge, and the results confirm this knowledge-by-treatment interaction. Most notably, elaborated feedback is the most effective feedback, especially for students with low prior knowledge and low course grade. In contrast, knowledge of correct response feedback was less effective for low-performing students, and including both kinds of feedback did not significantly improve performance compared to elaborated feedback alone. Further, while elaborated feedback resulted in higher scores, the learning rate was at best only marginally higher because the training time was slightly longer. Training time data revealed that students spent significantly more time on the elaborated feedback after answering a training question incorrectly. Finally, we found that training improved student self-reported proficiency and that belief in the importance of the learned domain improved the effectiveness of training. Overall, we found that computer based training with static question sequences and immediate elaborated feedback in the form of simple and general explanations can be an effective way to improve student performance on a physics essential skill, especially for less prepared and low-performing students.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A