Identifying Antecedents to Learning Effectively with Digital Media: A Student-Centered Approach

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Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2020-12-08
Language: English
Faculty: 6 Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Erziehungswissenschaft
Advisor: Stürmer, Kathleen (Prof. Dr.)
Lachner, Andreas (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2020-11-24
DDC Classifikation: 370 - Education
Keywords: Lernen , Neue Medien
Other Keywords: Lernen mit Digitalen Medien
instructional quality
Learning with digital media
student learning prerequisites
digital media self-efficacy
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Digital media is becoming more pervasive in the classroom. Even in Germany that has hesitated compared to other OECD countries to implement technology into the classroom, there is increasingly more pressure to use digital media for teaching and learning processes (Gerick, Eickelmann, & Bos, 2017). This effort to equip schools with digital media such as tablets has emerged despite not knowing how regular digital media use in classrooms affects student learning processes. Although research has attempted to keep up with the pace that digital media has entered classrooms, it has tended to emphasize gains in student achievement (Lai & Bower, 2020), with much less attention paid to the factors that precede student learning processes. To understand how students may learn with digital media in classrooms, recent conceptions of learning have highlighted that students arrive in the classroom with a range of learning skills, beliefs, prior knowledge, and experiences that significantly influence how they interpret their learning environments and acquire new knowledge (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000). Rather than look at student learning outcomes, this dissertation has aimed to build on previous theories and models about how students learn in classrooms to understand the antecedent factors that precede effective learning processes in classrooms with digital media. Following the opportunity to learn model (Seidel, 2014), students’ previous learning environments, including their families, influence students’ individual learning prerequisites, such as students’ cognitive and motivational-affective characteristics, which in turn affect students’ individual learning processes and subsequently learning outcomes (Seidel, 2014). Therefore, I have investigated (1) how parents’ beliefs and behaviors at home affect the development of students’ digital media self-efficacy, (2) how students perceive instructional quality in classrooms with digital media depending on their cognitive and motivational-affective characteristics, and (3) how students’ perceptions compared in classes with and without digital media as well as in classes where teachers had lower or higher technology innovativeness. These questions were addressed in three empirical studies that used data from a school trial investigating the use of digital media in classrooms. In Study 1, I investigated how students’ family environments and experiences at home shape students’ development of digital media self-efficacy. Specifically, using the parent socialization model, one link of the widely used expectancy-value model framework (Eccles et al., 1983), I examined whether parents’ behaviors including modeling and provision of digital media mediated the relation between parents’ value beliefs regarding digital media and students’ digital media self-efficacy (N = 1,206 students and their parents). To assess parents’ beliefs and behaviors regarding digital media, a questionnaire was developed. Results showed though parents’ value beliefs were related to students’ digital media self-efficacy, only parents’ provision of smart phones mediated this relation. Findings indicate the importance of parents’ beliefs regarding digital media and the need for future research into at home factors that influence students’ digital media self-efficacy. In Study 2 and in Study 3, I investigated students’ perceptions of supportive climate and cognitive activation in classes with tablets to understand how the use of tablets may affect how students experience their new learning context and in turn inform students’ learning outcomes. In both studies, I used latent profile analysis to first examine whether students could be grouped into distinct profiles based on their subject-specific motivational and cognitive characteristics and whether these profiles differentially predicted students’ perceptions. In Study 2, I compared students’ profile perceptions of supportive climate in biology classes with (n = 518 students) and without tablets (n = 540 students). After four months of tablet use, the ‘struggling’ and ‘unmotivated’ profiles perceived supportive climate significantly more positively than the same profiles in classes that were not given tablets. Building on these findings, in Study 3, I investigated whether there were differences between students’ perceptions of supportive climate and cognitive activation in math classes with tablets depending on teachers’ beliefs towards using technology (n = 575 students; n = 23 teachers). I found that most students perceived instructional practices more positively in classes where teachers had higher technology innovativeness with the exception of the ‘unmotivated’ profile that perceived instructional practices more negatively. The contribution of this dissertation is that students perceive instruction with digital media differently depending on their cognitive and motivational-affective characteristics. Understanding that not all students will perceive and learn with digital media in the same way has important implications for teachers’ use of digital media in the classroom as well as researchers investigating how digital media facilitates student learning. Furthermore, students’ previous experiences with digital media and characteristics such as digital media self-efficacy can affect how they feel towards and learn with digital media. Moving forward, research exploring how learning with digital media in classrooms takes place should also examine the factors outside the classroom such as students’ experiences with digital media at home.

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