Effects of learner, teacher, and designer roles on learning with educational and multimedia technology

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Multimedia educational technologies have increased their presence in traditional and online classrooms over the course of the previous decade. These tools hold value and can promote positive learning outcomes but

Multimedia educational technologies have increased their presence in traditional and online classrooms over the course of the previous decade. These tools hold value and can promote positive learning outcomes but are reliant on students’ degree of cognitive engagement and self-regulation. When students are not cognitively engaged or have low self-regulation capabilities, their interaction with the technology becomes less impactful because of decreased learning outcomes. Building or altering technologies to cognitively engage students is costly and timely; the present study investigates if introducing higher agency roles, to change the role of the student, increases learning outcomes. Specifically, this study investigates if higher agency roles of a designer or teacher enhances cognitive engagement and improves learning when compared to the conventional role of a learner. Improved learning outcomes were observed from the pretest to posttest for the learner, designer, and teacher role. Participants engaged with higher agency roles did not demonstrate more growth from pretest to posttest when compared to the control group, but participants in the teacher role outperformed those in the designer role. Additionally, reading ability did not impact learning gains across groups. While students who engaged with higher agency roles did not achieve greater learning outcomes than students in the control group, results indicate a learning effect across groups. Results of this study suggest that it was underpowered. Further research is needed to determine the extent of the impact that higher agency roles have on learning outcomes.