A Case Study of Student Cognitive Responses to Learning with Computer-Assisted Modular Curriculum

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Virginia Tech

Little is known about how students learn when using computer-assisted modular curriculum, if such curriculum truly promotes self-regulated learning, or if the cognitive principles of teaching and learning are integrated throughout the design of the modules. The purpose of this study was to investigate the phenomenon of student cognitive responses to learning with computer-assisted modular curriculum, based on the Phases and Subprocesses of Self-Regulation. This triangulation mixed methods case study connected qualitative and quantitative data derived from curriculum content analysis, student course evaluations, participant observations, and interviews. Thirty-six middle school students enrolled in an agricultural education course designed with computer-assisted modules served as the case study group. Data were transcribed, coded, and analyzed, leading to the emergence of six common themes. Overall, the design and content of the computer-assisted modules lack integral principles of teaching and learning. Participants prefer a mix of traditional and computer-assisted instruction because of the variety of instruction, opportunities for social learning, and the hands-on activities. When integrated properly, computer-assisted modules do not inhibit interactions among the teacher and the students. The activities associated with the modules do not encourage self-regulatory processes. However, self-regulation is innate and students engage in self-regulation at different levels during the learning experience. Despite intrinsic interest or value for a particular topic, participants felt it was always important to pay attention in school. Thus, when learning with computer-assisted modules, students engage in social learning with their peers and desire hands-on learning experiences, with or without the modules.

social learning, career and technical education, computer-assisted modules, modular curriculum, self-regulation, agricultural education