Thursday, 19 January 2012

Learning is influenced more by the instructional strategy than technology

Here is an important snippet from an article by Mohamed Ally of Athabasca University:

There is ongoing debate about whether it is the use of a particular delivery technology or the design of the instruction that improves learning (Clark, 2001; Kozma, 2001). It has long been recognized that specialized delivery technologies can provide efficient and timely access to learning materials; however, Clark (1983) has claimed that technologies are merely vehicles that deliver instruction, but do not themselves influence student achievement. As Clark notes, meta-analysis studies on media research have shown that students gain significant learning benefits when learning from audio-visual or computer media, as opposed to conventional instruction; however, the same studies suggest that thereason for those benefits is not the medium of instruction, but the instructional strategies built into the learning materials. Similarly, Schramm (1977) suggested that learning is influenced more by the content and instructional strategy in the learning materials than by the type of technology used to deliver instruction.
- Mohamed Ally
Athabasca University

I heartily agree with this article. We have to use technology in very creative ways, "promote higher-order thinking, link new information to old, use the students' metacognitive abilities" (Ally, 2009) and use the computer in ways that address its strengths:
1.      Speed
2.      Reliability
3.      Flexibility
4.      Accuracy
5.      Storage Capacity

For example:
Previously you might give oral instructions supplemented with a paper handouts for task or assignment. Now you can record your instructions (audio or video)5 and put all handouts online5. Students can then access your oral instructions3,5 and the handout3,5 in a timely fashion1. Some students may need to review all handouts and oral instructions while others may only review one or two these resources1,3. Another benefit is that your online resources are easily changed as information needs to be added, removed or corrected1,3,4. Now all students are getting the same message2.

1-Speed; 2-Reliability; 3-Flexibility; 4-Accuracy; 5-Storage Capacity

This is just one example of how the computers could be used. Please share your ideas on how we can use computers in effective ways.

Please share your comments by replying to this blog posting.

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