Improving Learning Achievement in Science Education for Elementary School Students via Blended Learning

Improving Learning Achievement in Science Education for Elementary School Students via Blended Learning

Ren-Hung Hwang (National Chung Cheng University, Minxiong, Chiayi, Taiwan), Hsin-Tung Lin (National Chung Cheng University, Minxiong, Chiayi, Taiwan), Jerry Chih-Yuan Sun (National Chiao Tung University, Minxiong, Chiayi, Taiwan) and Jang-Jiin Wu (National Chung Cheng University, Minxiong, Chiayi, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/IJOPCD.2019040104

Abstract

Blended learning—which combines online learning with traditional face-to-face classroom instruction—is currently held in high regard. In elementary schools, science and technology education aims to help children use technology tools and to learn how disciplines such as math and science are relevant to engineering. In this study, the authors examined what type of learning profile contributes to higher achievement in science and technology in a blended learning environment. The participants consisted of 106 elementary school students (grades three to six) from two different schools. The authors adapted the Online Technologies Self-Efficacy Scale (OTSES) and the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) to measure students' computer skills and learning motivation, respectively, and to understand how the blended learning environment affected their learning achievement. The results were as follows: 1) Computer skills significantly improved for all students except sixth-graders. 2) The blended learning environment had no significant effect on learning motivation. 3) In grades four and five, students in the experimental group improved more in learning achievement than students in the control group, as reflected by their higher MSLQ and OTSES scores.
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Blended Learning

Blended learning is a pedagogy that combines online teaching methodologies with traditional face-to-face instruction. As a form of e-Learning, blended learning is the most useful way to integrate technology into education (Kloos, Muñoz-Merino, Alario-Hoyos, Ayres & Fernández-Panadero, 2015). Norm Friesen defined four blended learning models: the rotation model, the flex model, the self-blending model, and the enriched-virtual model. The models later on the list depend more on online mediation (Friesen, 2012). The rotation model that we adopted in this study allows students to rotate between different learning situations on a fixed schedule. They spend most of the time learning from the teacher as usual but have a fixed portion of online courses.

Another popular blended learning approach is the flipped classroom. This approach also consists of online learning activities and traditional face-to-face instruction, but with a more explicit purpose for the two kinds of learning activities. Knowledge is often transferred from outside the classroom through the Internet, and then the students internalize this knowledge in the classroom via various interactions with the teacher or with peers (Sun, Wu & Lee, 2017). Compared to traditional distance learning, the flipped classroom environment could promote the students to higher learning achievements (Sun & Wu, 2016).

Although blended learning combines the benefits of both online learning and face-to-face education (Watson, 2008), it is not a cure-all. Students have more freedom to arrange their own learning process, so their ability to regulate the learning process becomes more critical (Sun & Rueda, 2012). Table 1 displays the advantages and disadvantages of blended learning (Pappas, 2015; Winstead, 2016).

Table 1.
Advantages and disadvantages of blended learning
AdvantagesProvides personalized learning experiences
Increases accessibility
Tracks learning activities
Saves cost for training
Provides various collaboration tools
DisadvantagesInstructors require high technology skills to set up and maintain the learning environment
Learners require higher motivation, self-regulation, and technology skills

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