Student Learning Behaviors in a Biology Gateway Course: A Mixed Methods Examination of an Adaptive Courseware Environment
The purpose of this study was to explore how student behaviors, while using an adaptive courseware system, influenced performance in a gateway biology course. This study used a mixed methods approach. Quantitative data was collected from the course’s learning management system (LMS) and the adaptive courseware. This data was analyzed using correlations between several metrics, including student course average, exam scores, total time spent using the adaptive courseware, the number of times the participants accessed both LMS content and adaptive courseware content, and the average score of activities and assessments within the adaptive courseware. The quantitative data included semi-structured interviews with 21 participants and follow-up interviews with five of the original 21 participants. This data was analyzed using process, descriptive, and in vivo coding. This study conducted seven different correlations. There was no significant correlation within three of the seven, including the correlations between the time participants spent on adaptive courseware activities and their final grade in the course, rs = .260, p= .058; the participants’ access of content through the adaptive courseware content during this time and their final grade, rs = –.015, p= .912; and the participants’ confidence level with the adaptive courseware content during this time and their score on Exam 4, rs = .122, p= .379. There were statistically significant correlations with four of the seven, including those between the participants’ access of content through the LMS during this time and their final grade,rs = .531, p < .001; the number of LMS content hits during the data collection window and their score on Exam 4, rs= .347, p = .008; the amount of time participants spent on the adaptive courseware during this time and their score on Exam 4, rsp = .028 and the amount of time participants spent on the adaptive courseware during this time and their total score on adaptive courseware assignments, rs = .398, p = .004. Within the qualitative data, three themes were identified, including student perception, relevance, and location. Each of these was furthered divided into three subthemes. Student perception included ease of use, restrictiveness, and participants’ comparisons of themselves to others. Relevance included navigating the system, prioritizing usefulness, and reaching goals. Location included using resources, creating space for themselves, and viewing themselves as learners. This study concluded that the participants interacted with the adaptive courseware using a combination of perception and relevance in order to locate themselves within a comprehensive learning environment (CLE). The CLE is composed of the learner; the LMS and the adaptive courseware, including the content and the technology; and the teacher, with the complex behaviors these interactions entail. The participants’ performance, determined by final course average and scores on specific assignments, was not always indicative of their interactions within the CLE. However, their learning behaviors within the CLE did inform their performance.
Educational technology|Science education
Teller, Ross C, "Student Learning Behaviors in a Biology Gateway Course: A Mixed Methods Examination of an Adaptive Courseware Environment" (2021). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28713954.