Students' motivation to learn: An evaluation of perceptions, pedagogy, and design in one e-learning environment
June Talvitie-Siple, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill . Awarded
The purpose of this initial study was to investigate secondary students' motivation to learn, mathematics attitudes, and perceptions of transactional distance and social presence as a framework for evaluating virtual high school online learning. The investigation began with a sample of size of 41 virtual high school students enrolled in a web-based Algebra I course that was taught by one teacher in an urban virtual high school. The dropout rate was high, which resulted in only 10 students participating in the study. The students' attitudes and perceptions were evaluated in light of their learner profiles and mathematics achievement in the course. Nine of the 10 students were considered in the study as academically at-risk. The students' ages ranged from 14 to 16 years, and they were enrolled in either 9th or 10 th grade. Several students were repeating the course for recovery credits.
Due to the small number of participants, this study offers only descriptive statistics and qualitative data what support strictly preliminary and speculative interpretations. Given this stipulation, this study may illuminate some potential relationships between the participants' attitudes and their academic performance. The students who passed the course appeared to possess positive mathematics attitudes, higher motivation, and lower perceptions of transactional distance than the students who failed the course. Social presence did not appear to be different between passing and failing students. Future studies should include larger sample sizes in multiple virtual school settings over a greater period of time so to shed greater light on the relationships of the virtual high school students' attitudes and perceptions to their academic achievement and learner profiles.
As part of this study, a framework for evaluating e-learning high school mathematics courses was developed. This framework served as the foundation to develop and evaluation tool used in the study, the e-Learning Evaluation Tool for Algebra I Courses (e-LETAC). The evaluation of the course suggested that the design and pedagogy was in need of improvement. However, the e-LETAC did not include a concise rubric. In future studies, this tool should be expanded to include a solid and reliable rubric.
Talvitie-Siple, J. Students' motivation to learn: An evaluation of perceptions, pedagogy, and design in one e-learning environment. Ph.D. thesis, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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