An Experimental Investigation of the Effectiveness of Individualized Web-based Learning based on the Dynamic Assembly of Learning Objects

This research presents an experimental evaluation of a particular approach to the problem of organizing information for effective learning. The approach divides the task of organizing information between the user and the system, leveraging expert judgments of how information should be modularized and recombined. We have implemented the approach in a web-based self-paced learning system called Custom Course. An experiment was conducted to see whether the automatic information organization and user interaction techniques employed in the system could result in improved outcomes compared to a typical text information retrieval system. Users of similar experience levels performed significantly better on a design task after using the Custom Course system, according to independent expert judgments of design products. The results suggest that actively engaging users in building a learning path that is also informed by expert judgments provides an effective personalized structure for learners. Reading hypermedia in the form of well-organized personalized learning paths may improve comprehension by integrating new, complex information into the user’s existing mental schemas. The approach could be useful for improving performance on tasks requiring time-constrained comprehension.

By: John C. Thomas; Robert Farrell

Published in: RC23941 in 2006


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