Web-Based Interactive Learning and the Effects of Learner Beliefs, Environmental Preferences, and Cognitive Loads

Web-Based Interactive Learning and the Effects of Learner Beliefs, Environmental Preferences, and Cognitive Loads

Fang-Ying Yang (National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan) and Cheng-Chieh Chang (National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0137-6.ch002
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The objective of this chapter is to present learner characteristics that mediate web-based learning. These characteristics include personal epistemological beliefs, beliefs about web-based learning, social-cultural beliefs, and preferences toward web-based learning environments. In addition to the effects of these affective factors, another factor that is also addressed in the chapter is the cognitive load induced by different web-based curriculum elements. Based on a literature review and the findings of some recent empirical studies, a web-based learning model is proposed to manifest the contributions of learner characteristics on learning in web-based contexts. Educational implications are then drawn corresponding to the web-based learning model.
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In the modern information era, the rapid development of multimedia and Internet technologies has a growing impact on school learning. The creation of web-based learning environments have started a revolution in the transmission of course content through the application of hypermedia-based links that unite text, images, audio, video, animations, exercises, etc., to present concepts in multiple forms. In addition to hyper-linked content presentation, other critical features of web-based learning environments, such as online discussion, instant or asynchronous feedback/communication, database, information search and so forth, provide interactive channels that support knowledge construction. Many scholars have discussed the role of web-based learning environments in enhancing learning. For example, Jonassen (1996) mentioned that web-based learning, compared with the classroom-based teaching and learning, provides external stimuli that gain the attention of sensory organs to enhance learners' endurance and concentration. Jim (2001) pointed out that the benefits of online learning include the increase of student involvement on learning process and high engagement in collaborative learning and discussion in the online environment. Recently, Kuljis and Lines (2007) demonstrated that the web-based learning environments, when blended with discussion forum, foster collaboration. Although discussions regarding the role of the web-based learning environments in enhancing learning can be found in literature, it is sometimes too easy to assume that multimedia provides a better learning environment, without considering the impacts of learner characteristics and the ways that the organization and distribution of multimedia materials or tools may interact with learning.

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