Relationships among student attitudes, motivation, learning styles, learning strategies, patterns of learning, and achievement: A formative evaluation of distance education via Web-based courses
Ching-Chun Shih, Iowa State University, United States
Iowa State University . Awarded
The World Wide Web (WWW) is the latest in a long line of educational technologies, and the list of courses on it is growing daily. Formative evaluations would help educators enhance teaching and learning in Web-based courses. This study analyzed the relationships between student achievement and the following variables: attitudes, motivation, learning strategies, patterns of learning, learning styles, and selected demographics. It was a population study that included 99 students taking two non-major introductory biology courses offered over the WWW by Iowa State University in the fall of 1997. Seventy-four (75%) students completed a learning style test, an on-line questionnaire, and received a grade by the end of the semester. The learning style test was the Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT), which classified students as either field-dependent or field-independent. The on-line questionnaire consisted of four scales (attitude, motivation, learning strategies, and patterns of learning), whose pilot-test reliabilities ranged from .71 to .91. The selected demographic variables were gender, class level, previous experience in subject area, hours per week studying and working, computer access, and types of students as off-campus, on-campus, or adult students. Over two-thirds of the students taking the Web-based courses were field-independent learners; however, there were no significant differences (.05 level) in achievement by learning style. Also, different backgrounds of students with different learning styles learned equally well in Web-based courses. The students enjoyed the convenience and self-controlled learning pace and were motivated by competition and high expectations in Web-based learning. They used most the learning strategies of finding important ideas from lectures and memorizing key words of important concepts and least the learning strategy of making charts or tables to organize the material. They seemed more interested in checking their grades than in communicating with the class and instructors via e-mail, discussion netforum or chat netforum. Motivation and learning strategies were the two significant factors that explained more than one-third of student achievement measured by class grade. Educators should assist students in mastering different motivational and learning strategies to help them become self-regulated learners.
Shih, C.C. Relationships among student attitudes, motivation, learning styles, learning strategies, patterns of learning, and achievement: A formative evaluation of distance education via Web-based courses. Ph.D. thesis, Iowa State University.
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