2:30-5:00 p.m., April 19, 2005
Mary Gates Commons
The use of technology in learning and teaching has been the focus of my efforts for many years. I routinely survey the students in my classes about various aspects of their learning strategies so that I can better use technology to augment their learning process. Based on WebQ surveys, we have discovered that according to student self-reports, the majority of their learning occurs privately when they review their notes and/or prepare for exams. Using different computer technologies (FLASH animations, Web delivery), we have provided tools to enhance this private learning. We decided to probe the students more extensively in order to design better learning tools and to better assess their learning progress.
We designed a prototype WebQ survey to assess: 1) where the students thought learning and understanding of course material occurred; 2) whether their learning strategy has changed since high school; 3) what they believe was the most accurate method of assessing their learning; and 4) how did they gage their own learning in a course. We sampled students in 100, 200, 300, and 400 level Psychology courses. A total of 323 students responded.
Some of the more interesting results were: 1) at all levels, students perceive that learning and understanding occurs during "private" activities; 2) students just beginning undergraduate study rely more heavily on high school learning strategies compared to students further along in their studies; 3) by in large students believe that short-answer exams are the best way to assess their learning (however, they prefer multiple choice exams); 4) most students rely on external feedback like exam scores or do not have an articulated way of gauging their learning. The complete results and analyses including implications for how these data may influence our teaching and the development of educational technologies will be presented.
These data have enormous implications for the design of tools to enhance learning. We will next employ the WebQ technology to launch an even more comprehensive student survey that will be campus wide.