Academic journal article Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia

Effects of Learner Control and Hypermedia Preference on Cyber-Students Performance in a Web-Based Learning Environment

Academic journal article Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia

Effects of Learner Control and Hypermedia Preference on Cyber-Students Performance in a Web-Based Learning Environment

Article excerpt

This study investigated whether the factor of "hypermedia preference" in a web-based learning environment (WBLE) affects students' task performance under "learner control with and without advisement" conditions. Eighty-one undergraduates at National Taiwan Normal University were randomly assigned to a learner-controlled treatment, with or without advisement. Two-way full factorial model ANOVA was used to test for main effects and the interaction assumption between hypermedia preference and conditions of control on means difference between posttest and pretest scores.

As expected, students' task performance is mainly affected by learner control (with/without advisement). However, although students' hypermedia preference has no direct relation to their performance in WBLE, when hypermedia preference works together with learner control, there is a significant joint influence on students' task performance. Students with a low hypermedia preference level benefited significantly from the presence of learner control with advisement. Students with a high hypermedia preference level were not significantly affected by the presence or absence of learner control with advisement.

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There is a close kinship among hypertext, hypermedia, and the World Wide Web (WWW or Web). The Web has its roots in hypertext. In 1945, Vannevar Bush first envisioned a hypothetical device called a "memex" that would allow people to select by association and automatically access notes, photographs, memoranda, books, records, and communications stored in a dispersed fashion (Bush, 1945). Although this memex machine was never created and the words "hypertext" and "hypermedia" lay decades in the future as he worked, his visionary image eventually evolved into today's Web.

Tim Berners-Lee (1996, 1998) was ultimately responsible for bringing Bush's idea into the modern world. In 1990, he wrote a program called "WorlDwidEweb," a point-click hypertext "wysiwyg" (what you see is what you get) editor which ran on the "NeXTStep" machine. In 1991, he presented to the public his first Web server (info.cem.ch, now replaced by www.w3.org), which stored nodes of information that could be accessed by nonlinear hyperlinks. Thus, with the Web, a user could use any hypertext link to point to anything, whether personal, local, or global, in draft or final form. The Web has since become so pervasive that it is indeed a reflection of our concrete world today, in both personal and cooperative work, recreation, and socializing.

Without a doubt, the concept of hypertext (or hypermedia) is the core of the Web. The original concept of nodal capacity in hypertext only stored information in text format. Later on, it expanded its nodal capacities to allow designers to store and access "non-text" forms of data in audio and video representation in a non-sequential (i.e., hyper) fashion. Thus, the term "hypermedia" evolved, referring to allowing users to access other media than text in a "hyperarchical" fashion. In fact, in 1988, Marchionini portrayed hypermedia as a "nonlinear representation" of hypertext which allowed users "access to graphics, sound, animation, and other forms of information transfer." While the terms hypertext, hypermedia, hyperdocument, and/or multimedia appear throughout the literature with varying meanings and connotations, Altun (2000) noted that nodes and nonlinear linkage are the core of all definitions. In fact, hypertext and hypermedia, hypermedia and multimedia have been used interchangeably for years. Hypermedi a is preferred in this study.

What is a Web-based Learning Environment (WBLE)?

Five major functions of electronic media are communication, entertainment, motivation, education (Romiszowski, 1994), and storage. Today's Web is fulfilling these purposes. The Web carries an increasingly heavy duty as a collection of media for teaching and learning, and Web usage is a daily commodity for many educators and learners. …

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