1887

Using Computer Technology to Foster Learning for Understanding

    Authors: ELAINE VAN MELLE1,*, LEWIS TOMALTY2
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    Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Education and; 2: Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Queen’s University at Kingston, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7M 3G7
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • *Corresponding author. Phone: (613) 545-9441. E-mail: 6mepv@qlink.queensu.ca.
    • Copyright © 2000, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2000 vol. 1 no. 1 7-13. doi:10.1128/154288100X14285805587224
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    Abstract:

    The literature shows that students typically use either a surface approach to learning, in which the emphasis is on memorization of facts, or a deep approach to learning, in which learning for understanding is the primary focus. This paper describes how computer technology, specifically the use of a multimedia CD-ROM, was integrated into a microbiology curriculum as part of the transition from focusing on facts to fostering learning for understanding. Evaluation of the changes in approaches to learning over the course of the term showed a statistically significant shift in a deep approach to learning, as measured by the Study Process Questionnaire. Additional data collected showed that the use of computer technology supported this shift by providing students with the opportunity to apply what they had learned in class to order tests and interpret the test results in relation to specific patient-focused case studies. The extent of the impact, however, varied among different groups of students in the class. For example, students who were recent high school graduates did not show a statistically significant increase in deep learning scores over the course of the term and did not perform as well in the course. The results also showed that a surface approach to learning was an important aspect of learning for understanding, although only those students who were able to combine a surface with a deep approach to learning were successfully able to learn for understanding. Implications of this finding for the future use of computer technology and learning for understanding are considered.

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References & Citations

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/154288100X14285805587224
2000-05-01
2017-11-22

Abstract:

The literature shows that students typically use either a surface approach to learning, in which the emphasis is on memorization of facts, or a deep approach to learning, in which learning for understanding is the primary focus. This paper describes how computer technology, specifically the use of a multimedia CD-ROM, was integrated into a microbiology curriculum as part of the transition from focusing on facts to fostering learning for understanding. Evaluation of the changes in approaches to learning over the course of the term showed a statistically significant shift in a deep approach to learning, as measured by the Study Process Questionnaire. Additional data collected showed that the use of computer technology supported this shift by providing students with the opportunity to apply what they had learned in class to order tests and interpret the test results in relation to specific patient-focused case studies. The extent of the impact, however, varied among different groups of students in the class. For example, students who were recent high school graduates did not show a statistically significant increase in deep learning scores over the course of the term and did not perform as well in the course. The results also showed that a surface approach to learning was an important aspect of learning for understanding, although only those students who were able to combine a surface with a deep approach to learning were successfully able to learn for understanding. Implications of this finding for the future use of computer technology and learning for understanding are considered.

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Figures

Image of FIG. 1

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FIG. 1

is a multimedia CD-ROM in which case studies are organized according to body systems.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2000 vol. 1 no. 1 7-13. doi:10.1128/154288100X14285805587224
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Image of FIG. 2

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FIG. 2

Histograms of SPQ deep score results at the beginning of the term (SPQ1) (a) and at the end of the term (SPQ2) (b).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2000 vol. 1 no. 1 7-13. doi:10.1128/154288100X14285805587224
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