Cognitive flexibility: The theoretical framework for investigating the effectiveness of constructivist-pedagogically designed hypertext on text comprehension learning outcomes
Geoffrey Alonza Alfonza Lee, University of Louisville, United States
University of Louisville . Awarded
Determining the most effective technology tools to facilitate learning and instruction at the advanced stage of knowledge acquisition requires a different theoretical paradigm from that which is designed to aid learning and instruction at the introductory stage. To facilitate learning at the advanced stage, the investigator used a sample of 72, 10–11 year olds. The male and female participants who attend one of the urban primary school in Barbados made up the two levels of the first factor: gender. These participants were randomly assigned to the second factor: Instructional Environment, which comprised a hypertext, a linear text and a traditional-teacher-directed environment.
In this study, the cognitive flexibility theory informed the design of a hypertext unit on managing water resources in Barbados. The investigator used the same unit to create a linear text environment and to provide the teacher with resources to instruct the participants in the traditional-teacher-directed environment.
Prior to, and at the end of the experimental period, participants completed constructed responses to questions, which required a demonstration of the skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Trained raters assessed the answers to the constructed response questions to provide pretest and posttest data.
The investigator used a two-way MANCOVA model to compare the pretest and posttest data from participants who studied in the hypertext environment, with that of their peers who studied in either the linear text or in the traditional-teacher-directed environment.
The results from the analysis of the data, F( 6, 122) = 2.126, p > .055, showed that there was no statistically significant instructional environment by gender interaction. The findings also revealed that while there was a statistically significant main MANCOVA multivariate effect, F (6, 128) = 4.07, p < .001, for instructional environment, there was no concomitant statistically significant main MANCOVA effect, F (6, 122) = .547, p = .65, for gender.
Univariate ANCOVAs showed that the effects of the instructional environment on the three dependent variables of analysis, F( 2, 66) = 9.78, p = 000, synthesis, F( 2, 66) = 3.88, p < .026, and evaluation F (2, 66) = 3.57, p < .034 were each statistically significant at the .05 alpha level.
These findings have pedagogical as well as theoretical implications. This study should, therefore, help curriculum designers, program developers, and educators determine the most effective technology tools to improve analysis, synthesis, and evaluation learning outcomes. Since these findings also support the cognitive flexibility theory, learner-centered activities should be designed to facilitate the acquisition of advanced knowledge.
Lee, G.A.A. Cognitive flexibility: The theoretical framework for investigating the effectiveness of constructivist-pedagogically designed hypertext on text comprehension learning outcomes. Ph.D. thesis, University of Louisville.
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