Improving Learning Strategies for Mathematics through E-Learning

Improving Learning Strategies for Mathematics through E-Learning

Cristina Bardelle (Università del Piemonte Orientale A. Avogadro, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2122-0.ch058

Abstract

This chapter describes an experience concerning a mathematics course offered at university for first-year science students. The course, realized in a blended format, is aimed at supporting students in the critical stage of transition from high school to university. Beside standard materials and resources, students were provided with online tools for the achievement of learning strategies mainly based on semiotic and pragmatic aspects of mathematical language. The online activities are an effective tool from the cognitive and metacognitive perspective, promoting a shift from passive learning (listening to lectures and taking notes) to more active modalities of learning where the students were engaged in student-instructor or student-computer interaction activities. Overall, more than half of the students participated in the optional online activities, and a positive relationship between this participation and the results in the final written test serve to verify the potential effectiveness of this form of study.
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Background

Many studies have highlighted the need for further research into the secondary-tertiary transition, and with the emergence of technological tools, many questions about the role of technology in teaching and learning are arising. For example, Geudet (2008) wrote “The question of the effective and possible uses of technology in the secondary-tertiary transition has not been researched yet, as far as I know... Could technology be helpful to foster novice students’ autonomy, for example by using appropriate online resources?” (p. 252). On the other hand, several studies, which investigated what role online environments should have in university education, drew attention to blended modalities (see for example Calvani, 2005). According to their findings, the potential of course management systems in the learning of mathematics was experienced as part of the critical secondary-tertiary transition. Moreover, the experiment was realized following the main idea that e-learning activities, in order to be effective, must be conceived taking into account pedagogical theories.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Learning by Doing: The acquisition of knowledge or skills through direct experience of carrying out a task.

Student-Instructor Interaction: Activities in which students are engaged in interactions with an instructor or tutor of the online course.

Blended Course: A course that combines traditional face-to-face classroom methods with online activities.

Online Activities: Online learning activities that require students to interact and participate actively.

Student-Computer Interaction: Activities in which students are engaged in interactions with the automated system of the online course.

E-Learning: Learning realized by means of internet technologies.

Online Resources: Materials, notes, timetables, notices, etc., available online for reading.

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