An investigation of a Web-based self-regulated learning support tool : a case study in graduate education
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This study was designed to explore the use of a Web-based Self-Regulated Learning Support tool (SRLS tool) in a student-centered postsecondary educational software development course in order to design a better learner support system to help students experience successful learning. This study followed an embedded single-case designed study approach that employed multiple methods (questionnaire, interviews and artifacts) to answer the research questions focused on how the participants in the course used the SRLS tool, how they perceived the instrumentality of the tool, and how they benefited from the use of the tool. Results indicated that the students in the course used the tool for basic activities like goal setting, planning, monitoring, and reflection with the help of the email triggers and guiding questions in the update templates. They did not use the more advanced functions like shared learning, request feedback, and GuideMe® to as great an extent. The participants’ perceived instrumentality (or utility value) on the use of the SRLS tool varied according to several factors. Students had 1) higher utility value for the use of the tool in the beginning of the semester than the end; 2) higher utility value for the difficult, big, and team- based tasks than the easy, small, and individual-based tasks; 3) higher utility value for inexperienced students than experienced students; and 4) higher utility value when their design and reflection style matched up with the tool’s structure. It appears the tool benefited some students in getting started with their projects, and to keep moving ahead toward completion by reinforcing self-efficacy, ownership, and a clearer structure over the tasks, many of which were completed in complex settings. In addition, the communication functions of the Web enabled direct and indirect interactions between the students and the instructor. The guiding questions in the tool also facilitated the students’ ability to actively look for resources such as books, Web sites, and human sources of information.
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