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ERIC Number: EJ895871
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 55
ISSN: ISSN-1547-9714
Known and Unknown Weaknesses in Software Animated Demonstrations (Screencasts): A Study in Self-Paced Learning Settings
Palaigeorgiou, George; Despotakis, Theofanis
Journal of Information Technology Education, v9 p81-98 2010
Learning about computers continues to be regarded as a rather informal and complex landscape dominated by individual exploratory and opportunistic approaches, even for students and instructors in Computer Science Departments. During the last two decades, software animated demonstrations (SADs), also known as screencasts, have attracted particular attention as a promising platform for the struggling computer users. However, their anticipated ground-breaking success has not yet been verified, while research results have been both limited and inconsistent. In this study, we explore the deficiencies of SADs in a self-paced learning environment for computer science students, with a view to pinpointing design priorities for the enhancement of their learning value. An application containing 161 SADs was developed and distributed to thirty students who participated in three interviews during a period of two months and gave consent to usage logging for research purposes. The results of our study showed that, although computer science students recognized SADs as persuasive and intriguing media, their exploitation of SADs was not a straightforward matter. Problems reported included ineffective support during practice, the absence of encoding opportunities, low exploratory qualities and limited navigation opportunities. Other difficulties concerned pacing conflicts, incomplete self-descriptions, the inconvenience of the required environmental settings, and unexpected exposure to explicit time requirements, all of which challenged students' previously-acquired learning strategies. Students negotiated their study model right through until their last usage sessions because SADs were interruptive and did not encourage or facilitate any specific practice model. Even though these problems were confronted by all students, a significant percentage of them watched the videos in their entirety, developed tricks to overcome SADs disadvantages, overcame the novelty effect, and extracted most of their value. This is a promising sign for the future diffusion of SADs in the acquiring of software skills in information technology education and underlines the need to enhance their form and the affordances provided. (Contains 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A