Academic journal article Education

An Instrument to Help Teachers Assess Learners' Attitudes towards Multimedia Instruction

Academic journal article Education

An Instrument to Help Teachers Assess Learners' Attitudes towards Multimedia Instruction

Article excerpt

Introduction

The rapid growth of multimedia implementation in learning settings does not guarantee participation and acceptance on the part of students. Negative attitudes towards multimedia-based instruction could be a deterrent to using, multimedia technology as a tool for language learning.

Awareness of student attitudes toward multimedia-based instruction is a critical criterion in the evaluation of multimedia courses and in the development of multimedia-based curricula. Attitudes toward multimedia-enhanced instruction are thought to influence not only the acceptance of this medium of instruction, but also future behaviors in the learning process. For this reason, the promotion and maintenance of positive attitudes toward multimedia-based instruction is of paramount importance. Negative attitudes must not be allowed to limit the knowledge and creativity of learners, nor anxiety to interfere with the learning process. If the utilization of multimedia teaching/learning environments is to be maximized, attitudes toward these learning settings must be continuously monitored. Fast. effective instruments to assess attitudes toward multimedia instruction are crucial to this process.

There is a wealth of computer attitude scales available in the literature. Many instruments have been developed with the purpose of measuring computer anxiety and other computer-related attitudes. Among them, the Computer Anxiety Index (Montag et al., 1984), examines avoidance of computers, negative attitudes toward computers, caution with computers, and disinterest in computers; the Computer Attitude Scale (Gressard & Loyal, 1984), measures confidence and computer liking and anxiety, utilizing a Likert-type format; the Attitudes Towards Computers scale (Raub, 1981), assesses three factors: computer usage, computer appreciation, and societal impact, the Bloomberg Erikson Lowrey Computer Attitude Task (Erickson, 1987) is a composite of the first three scales combining 5 subscales: computer liking. comfort with computers, usefulness of computers, attitude towards success with computers, and computers as a male domain; the Computer Attitude Scale for Secondary Students (Jones and Clarke, 1994) assesses students' attitudes toward computers through three components, namely a cognitive, an affective, and a behavioral component; and the Computer Ability Survey (Kay, 1993) comprises three ability subscales: software/awareness. pro(Tramming and perceived control. Additionally, we can also mention Stevens' Computer Survey (Stevens, 1980: Stevens. 1982), Reece and Gable's Attitudes Towards Computers (Reece & Gable, 1982). and Grisworld's Computer Use

Questionnaire (Griswold, 1983). Other computer attitude scales have been developed and used by Norales (1987), Byrd and Koohang (1989), and Levin and Gordon (1989). There is a number of studies which provide useful empirical comparisons of available computer attitude scales (Gardner et al, 1993; Woodrow, 1991).

All the previous references to existing surveys show that the available measures concerned with attitudes toward computers focus on general attitudinal parameters rather than on in-depth attitude- related dimensions. Besides, all the surveys reviewed explore learners' attitudes towards computers, and none of them elicit students' perceptions toward multimedia instruction as such. The survey presented in this paper tries to go one step further by focusing on multimedia technology and it goes beyond this point by gathering data on more specific dimensions which are inherent to multimedia- based instruction.

Methodology

Eight multi media-based dimensions were firstly named and defined. These dimensions were: students' views toward computer interaction (INTERACT); students' attitudes toward the learner's control over the instructional process (LEARNCR), students' degree of involvement in the multimedia activity (INVOLVE); students' views on individualized instruction (INDIVID); students' perceptions toward self-paced instruction (SELFPAC); students' perceptions toward the instructional application used in terms of its user-friendliness (USERFRI); students' level of anxiety when working with multimedia (IVDANX); and students' general opinion towards their experience with the instructional material (GNRALOP). …

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