Date: Wed, 22 May 2013 21:26:11 +0200
An interactive multimedia computer package on photosynthesis for high school students based on a matrix of cognitive and learning styles
- In this study, an interactive multimedia computer package (IMP) was designed to accommodate a number of cognitive and learning styles which may be neglected in typical classroom settings. The cognitive styles chosen were global, and kinesthetic. The learning styles chosen were visual, structure, motivation, and persistence. These eight categories were selected because they are frequently inadequate in classrooms and lend themselves to computer applications. A group of fifty-four high school students, who performed poorly on a unit test on photosynthesis, were randomly assigned to an experimental or control group. The students in the experimental group were asked to use the IMP to learn as much as they could about the topic of photosynthesis. They were instructed only on the use of the computer and the mouse if they were uncertain how to use them. Students in the control group were asked to learn as much as they could about the topic of photosynthesis by watching four, ten minute video segments covering the same areas of the topic of photosynthesis. Prior to the interventions, a learning styles inventory (LSI) was administered to determine the students' learning style preferences. Students' interactions with the IMP were monitored by the program. Using time on task as a measure, student preferences on the LSI were compared to the time they spent on each of the activities of the IMP. With the exception of kinesthetic, there was no correlation between score on the LSI and time spent on the activities of the IMP. Students were evaluated in a pretest-posttest experimental design. The experimental group performed significantly better than the control group on two separate tests on photosynthesis (p =.0048 and.0096), one multiple choice the other short answer. Computer software designed with cognitive styles and learning styles, which are not adequately addressed in typical classrooms, can help students learn difficult topics such as photosynthesis. Students in this study found the software interesting and easy to use and felt it helped them learn.