OPeL: Online Prompting in eLearning. A new tool to foster skills and knowledge

Werlen, Egon and Bergamin, Per (2014) OPeL: Online Prompting in eLearning. A new tool to foster skills and knowledge. In: uropean Conference on Education Research - ECER 2014. "The Past, Present and Future of Educational Research in Europe", 1st - 5th September 2014, Porto, Portugal.

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INTRODUCTION: The objective is to introduce a new tool for prompting sequences in a Technology Enhances Learning Environments (TELE) and to present results of the first implementations. There are two research questions: How is OPeL accepted by the learners? Does OPeL enhance the performance of the learners? OPeL includes the self-estimation of one’s performance answering questions concerning (a part of) the content of a course. It permits to build sequences of questions and answers. In education, prompts are learning aids to increase recall and performance without teaching new things. We used explanations prompts (cognitive prompts). They invite learners to explain topics to oneself, and to reason about learning strategies used. METHODS: We implemented OPeL in an online course of the Swiss Distance University of Applied Sciences (FFHS) to prompt interventions in behaviour changes (4 classes; 31 adult students; 94% females; age: 30-50 years) and in a communication course of the Valais University of Teacher Education (HEP VS) to prompt the transfer of communication knowledge into classroom (8 classes; 148 students; age 20 to 30 years; 85% female). RESULTS: Students of the FFHS that worked through OPeL reached grades about 10% higher than the others. They accepted the prompting tool very good, and rated it with an average of 8 (out of 10) points. Students of the HEP VS did not show higher grades on prompted topics. First analyses showed better communication skills in classroom by a filmed subsample. Later analysis showed no effects. The students rated OPeL significantly higher than an alternative condition (multiple choice questions). CONCLUSIONS: OPeL is a very flexible tool to prompt k​n​o​w​l​e​

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