Award Date

12-1-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Psychology & Higher Education

First Committee Member

Eunsook Hong

Second Committee Member

Randall Boone

Third Committee Member

Gregory Schraw

Fourth Committee Member

Jeffrey Shih

Number of Pages

213

Abstract

The current study explored the differential effects of two learning strategies, self-explanation and reading questions and answers, on students' test performance in the computer programming language JavaScript. Students' perceptions toward the two strategies as to their effectiveness in learning JavaScript was also explored by examining students' preferred strategy and the reasons for their choice. An online interactive tutorial instruction that implemented worked-examples and multimedia learning principles was developed for this study. A total of 147 high school students (ages ranging from 14 to 17) who were taking a Computer Introduction course participated in this study. The course was offered in six periods and all periods were taught by one instructor, the current investigator. The six periods were randomly divided into two groups with three periods in each group. One group (n = 78) started learning the first two of the five lessons in the tutorial with the self-explanation learning strategy while the other group (n = 69) started the first two lessons with the reading questions and answers strategy. Then the two groups learned the next two lessons with the tutorial that swapped the two strategies, so they can experience the other learning strategy. Finally, the two groups went back to their original strategy to learn the 5th and last lesson in the tutorial. Students took an end-of-lesson test after each lesson and completed a questionnaire at the end of the final lesson regarding their perceptions toward the two learning strategies. Students' prerequisite knowledge of XHTML and motivation to learn computer programming language were measured before taking the JavaScript tutorial lessons. The two learning strategies did not have differential effects on students' test performance. However, students largely expressed their preference toward the self-explanation learning strategy over the reading questions and answers strategy. Students considered self-explanation incurring much more work yet more effective with helping them learn JavaScript, supporting the notion that self-explanation generates germane cognitive load that directly contributes to learning. The seeming discrepancy in findings between students' test performance and the reasoning for their choice on the preferred strategy was discussed in the areas of familiar versus new strategy, difficulty of learning materials, and experimental duration.

Keywords

Computer Programming; JavaScript (Computer program language) – Study and teaching; Learning strategies; Questions and answers; Self-explanation; Tutorial

Disciplines

Computer Sciences | Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Psychology | Instructional Media Design

Language

English