Learning with computers: experiences of evaluation

Scanlon, E.; Tosunoglu, C.; Jones, A.; Butcher, P.; Ross, S.; Taylor, J. and Murphy, P. (1998). Learning with computers: experiences of evaluation. Computers & Education, 30(1-2) pp. 9–14.


At the Open University (OU), the perception of computer assisted learning (CAL) is shifting from its current position as an optional extra in a battery of course components to that of a key teaching medium. This paper presents the authors' experiences of the evaluation of a range of current OU produced computer assisted learning materials, mainly but not exclusively in science and technology reported in terms of evaluation framework. These materials include interactive tutorial packages, simulations used largely in a support role to the main teaching and multimedia packages which are expected to carry more of the initial presentation of key ideas in the courses. The overall purpose of the evaluations was to gain insight into how computers can have an impact on learning, particularly of science and technology subjects, and to explore a portfolio of evaluation techniques to be used in the development and assessment of computer based learning materials. In this paper the techniques are discussed and illustrated with reference to a number of case studies of a range of programs used by students. Some conclusions are drawn about how the use of programs leads to the support of students' science and technology learning.

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