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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/6506

Title: The effects of individual differences and instructional aids on learners' disorientation, learning performance and attitudes in a hypermedia learning system
Authors: Ruttun, Rishi
Advisors: Macredie, R
Chen, S
Keywords: Hypermedia learning system
Individual differences
Visual instructional aids
Audio instructional aids
Disorientation
Publication Date: 2011
Publisher: Brunel University, School of Information Systems, Computing and Mathematics
Abstract: Hypermedia Learning Systems (HLS) are being used increasingly widely in Higher Education, offering non-linear navigation through complex learning materials and, it is argued, leading to improve cognitive flexibility. For some learners, though, nonlinear navigation in HLS leads to higher levels of disorientation, which can have an impact on their learning performance and attitudes towards the learning system. There has been significant research into the factors that can influence individual learners‘ experiences. For example, a number of studies have confirmed that individual differences such as cognitive style, domain knowledge and computer experience affect individuals‘ levels of disorientation and learning performance, and influence their attitudes towards HLS. It has also been suggested that instructional aids (in the form of certain visual elements and audio elements) can reduce levels of disorientation and, in turn, increase learning performance in, and positive attitudes towards, HLS for some learners. However, existing studies have tended to look at only a subset of these three individual differences in relation to an individual and/or consider only a small number of visual instructional aids. No study up to this point has considered the impact of cognitive style, domain knowledge and computer experience on disorientation, learning performance and attitudes in a HLS that incorporates a full range of visual instructional aids. In terms of the research related to audio instructional aids, no studies have looked into the effects of audio aids and these three individual differences in relation to disorientation, learning performance and attitudes in HLS. This thesis addresses these two shortcomings through two experiments. The aim of experiment 1 was to examine the effects of and between these three individual differences with respect to disorientation, learning performance and attitudes in two versions of a HLS: one that incorporated the set of visual instructional aids and one that did not. Experiment 2 aimed to do the same, but with respect to a HLS that provided audio instructional aids. The experiments used quantitative and qualitative approaches to gather data to address a set of research questions and research hypotheses. The participants were 384 university students from across London. The Cognitive Style Analysis (CSA) test was administered to determine participants‘ field dependence, and participants‘ demographic information, levels of computer experience and levels of prior knowledge were gathered using questionnaires. Learning performance was measured through achievement tests and a practical task. Levels of disorientation were measured using questionnaires, and attitudes were assessed using questionnaires and interviews. Participants were also observed when they were interacting with the HLS to perform learning tasks. A number of interesting results were revealed. Significant effects were found between the three individual differences with respect to disorientation, learning performance and attitudes in the HLS that provided no instructional aids. No significant effects were found between the three individual differences with respect to disorientation or learning performance in the other two versions of the HLS – those providing visual and audio instructional aids. Significant effects were found between the three individual differences with respect to the use of the visual and audio instructional aids to perform learning in the HLS. No significant effects were found between the three individual differences with respect to attitudes in the HLS that provided visual instructional aids. Significant effects were found between the three individual differences with respect to attitudes in the version that provided audio instructional aids. Analysis of the results led to the framing of a set of HLS design guidelines which are presented in this thesis. Finally, an agenda for future research leading on from the study‘s findings is presented.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
URI: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/6506
Appears in Collections:Information Systems and Computing
School of Information Systems, Computing and Mathematics Theses

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