Enhancing Precalculus Curricula with E-Learning: Implementation and Assessment

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Conference Proceeding

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During Fall semester of 2007, a semester-long, quasi-experimental study was conducted at Boise State University to investigate the effectiveness of a systematically sequenced and managed, self-paced e-learning activity on improving students’ academic performance and motivation. A total of 125 students enrolled in 3 different sections of a Precalculus class participated in the study. The e-learning activity was implemented in 2 of the 3 sections as a required homework assignment. Students enrolled in one of the 2 selected sections were all engineering majors. The 3rd section was a control group that did not use the e-learning activity. A pre-test, measuring students’ entry-knowledge levels, was administered at the beginning of the semester, and a posttest was administered at the end of the semester. Students’ learning styles were measured with the Gregorc Style Delineator™. Then, the relationships among the students’ learning styles, their academic performance, and self-regulated studying behaviors such as the number of hours they spent on weekly e-learning homework assignments were investigated. This study revealed that using an e-learning activity as a homework assignment improved students’ knowledge in Precalculus about the same as did traditional homework that was collected, graded and returned daily. Moreover, we found that different types of learning styles were associated with different degrees of knowledge improvement in Precalculus. Several recommendations on instructional strategies related to students’ learning styles are discussed.

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