A study into the use and effectiveness of hypermedia learning systems as a method

Bonser, Debbie J. (1997) A study into the use and effectiveness of hypermedia learning systems as a method. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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The focus of this project is the new learning medium called 'hypennedia'. Hypermedia is information presented in a non-sequential manner on a computer. One piece of information, be that text, graphics, audio or video, is linked to a related piece of information via interconnecting nodes, thus allowing exploratory and inquiry based learning with a high degree of learner control.
The study seeks to examine the use and effectiveness of hypermedia learning systems as a method of learning and lakes place within the industrial arena in the geographic location of Lancashire. The author concentrates on the users perception of this new learning medium and compares the findings against traditional learning methodologies.
The most appropriate pedagogy for illuminating learners views about educational innovations is explored and results in an illuminative evaluation incorporating both quantitative and qualitative methods for data analysis.
A small intensive study is carried out to illuminate participants views of the effectiveness of the new innovation in a practical setting and then compares this to an equivalent tradition learning environment. A survey of industrial firms within Lancashire puts the study into context and evaluates the current usage of hypermedia learning systems within Lancashire.
The study revolves around constnjctivist learning theories where a learning medium creates a situation allowing the learner the freedom to exercise judgment about what is to be learnt and at what pace.
Hvpermedia systems would appear to be an ideal delivery mechanism for courseware which embodies constructivist approaches as they are structured to allow complete learner control.
Learning styles are investigated to evaluate whether a particular learner finds the system more effective or whether all learners can adapt the system to match their own preferred learning style. Patterns of interaction and activity within the hypennedia system show the learners adaptation of the coursework.
Effectiveness of the hypermedia learning system is measured by learners satisfaction of all aspects of the system including engagement, usability and interactivity. Observation of participant's performance and summative assessment scores gauge the learners success.
Opinions and performance are compared against each learners personal profile constructed from information about preferred learning styles, computer literacy, confidence, academic background, length of service, age and gender.
By conducting this analysis it is possible to interpret whether hypermedia learning systems are more effective to one particular type of learner or whether they offer a revolutionary new learning medium suitable for all learners.
The study is carried out on behalf of Lancashire County Council as part of an investigation looking into alternative learning strategies.
The findings show that hypennedia learning systems, as yet, have not been widely utilised by industry in Lancashire but their effectiveness has been proved, particularly for the confident, intelligent, computer literate learner. The implications of these findings are that hypermedia learning systems could soon become a common learning tool throughout industiy, especially if modified to include more navigational aids, feedback and guidance for the learner.

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