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ERIC Number: EJ1155628
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Oct
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1042-1629
Designing for Interaction, Thinking and Academic Achievement in a Tanzanian Undergraduate Chemistry Course
Msonde, Sydney Enock; Van Aalst, Jan
Educational Technology Research and Development, v65 n5 p1389-1413 Oct 2017
Virtual learning environments are used in higher education around the world to promote student learning. However, in many countries it has not yielded the expected effect on student interaction and learning. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the use of certain pedagogical approaches would promote student interaction, higher-order thinking and achievement. 102 undergraduate students taking an introductory chemistry course at a Tanzanian university participated in the study, and were randomly assigned to three groups. Each group first studied one topic using the control design (non-interactive learning, NIL) to establish a baseline. Then each group studied three further topics using different pedagogical approaches (NIL), discussion forums (medium interactive learning) and podcasts (highly interactive learning). Data included interviews, subject tests, and the content of online discussion forums. All qualitative data were coded, and repeated-measures ANOVA was used to analyze within design and between design effects; student interaction patterns were analyzed using social network analysis. Results show that social interaction, academic achievement and thinking improved progressively over the three topics (iterations) in each design. The changes in instructor pedagogical strategies and the actions of students to bring what they had learned from podcasts to the learning community contributed to the marked improvement. We conclude that effective use of discussion forums in higher education in Tanzania can produce important learning effects (interaction, thinking, and enhanced academic achievement) and is a low-bandwidth strategy, but coupling podcasts with discussion forums may be a powerful way to enhance the effects.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Tanzania
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A