Educational Technology Research and Development

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 79–100 | Cite as

Implementation and evaluation of a student-centered learning unit: A case study

  • Thomas Brush
  • John Saye
Development

Abstract

The purpose of this case study was to explore the issues involved in implementing a technology-enhanced student-centered unit in order to provide recommendations to improve and enhance these types of learning activities. Specifically, the study examined problems students encountered in completing the unit activities, problems the teacher encountered in facilitating the delivery of the unit to her students, and strategies to improve and enhance these types of learning activities. One teacher and the 21 students in her intact United States history class participated in the study. The central unit problem required students to determine the strategies that should be pursued in 1968 to continue the struggle for a more just, equal United States society. Students worked in teams to gather data from an electronic database of primary- and secondary-source materials, and use the data to develop solutions to the unit problem. Results of this study suggest that a variety of factors impact the success or failure of student-centered activities, including student orientation to the unit problem, student collaboration, teacher management strategies, and student accountability mechanisms. These results also provide insight into how the design of these types of activities can be improved. Perhaps the most important considerations that need additional attention are the additional aids required by teachers as they struggle to implement these types of activities in their classrooms.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alper, L., Fendel, D., Fraser, S., & Resek, D. (1996). Problem-based mathematics: Not just for the college-bound.Educational Leadership, 53(8), 18–21.Google Scholar
  2. Angeli, C., Bonk, C., Supplee, L., & Malikowski, S. (1998). A case-based electronic learning environment for preservice teacher education.Technology and Teacher Education Annual—1998. Reston, VA: AACE.Google Scholar
  3. Barab, S., & Landa, A. (1997). Designing effective inter-disciplinary anchors.Educational Leadership, 54(6), 52–55.Google Scholar
  4. Bednar, A., Cunningham, D., Duffy, T., & Perry, J. (1992). Theory into practice: How do we link? In T. Duffy and D. Jonassen (Eds.),Constructivism and the Technology of Instruction: A Conversation. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  5. Berson, M.J. (1996). Effectiveness of computer technology in the social studies: A review of the literature.Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 28(4), 486–499.Google Scholar
  6. Brown, J., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning.Educational Researcher, 18(4), 32–42.Google Scholar
  7. Brush, T. (1997). The effects on student achievement and attitudes when using integrated learning systems in cooperative pairs.Educational Technology Research and Development, 45(1), 51–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brush, T. (1998). Embedding cooperative learning into the design of Integrated Learning Systems: Rationale and guidelines.Educational Technology Research and Development, 46(3), 5–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brush, T., & Saye, J. (1999, February).Instructional tools for student problem-solving: The Decision Point project. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Association of Educational Communications and Technology, Houston, TX.Google Scholar
  10. Choi, J., & Hannafin, M. (1995). Situated cognition and learning environments: Roles, structures, and implications for design.Educational Technology Research and Development, 43(2), 53–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (1992). The Jasper experiment: An exploration of issues in learning and instructional design.Educational Technology Research and Development, 40(1), 65–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1993). Anchored instruction and situated cognition revisited.Educational Technology, 33(3), 52–70.Google Scholar
  13. Dewey, J. (1938).Experience and education. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  14. Duffy, T., & Jonassen, D. (1991). Constructivism: New implications for instructional technology?Educational Technology, May, 3–16.Google Scholar
  15. Edmark. (1999).Millie's math house. [Computer Software]. Redmond, WA: Author.Google Scholar
  16. Ehman, L.H., Glenn, A.D., Johnson, V., & White, C.S. (1998). Using computer databases in student problem solving. In J.A. Braun, P. Fernlund, & C.S. White (Eds.),Technology tools in the social studies curriculum (pp. 164–187). Wilsonville, OR: Frankilin, Beedle.Google Scholar
  17. Felder, R., & Brent, R. (1996). Navigating the bumpy road to student-centered instruction.College Teaching, 44(2), 43–47.Google Scholar
  18. Gallagher, S.A., & Stepien, W.J. (1996). Content acquisition in problem-based learning: Depth versus breadth in American studies.Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 19(3), 257–275.Google Scholar
  19. Glasgow, N. (1997).New curriculum for new times: A guide to student-centered, problem-based learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.Google Scholar
  20. Guba, E., & Lincoln, Y. (1981).Effective evaluation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  21. Hannafin, M., Hall, C., Land, S., & Hill, J. (1994). Learning in open-ended environments: Assumptions, methods, and implications.Educational Technology, October, 48–55.Google Scholar
  22. Hannafin, M., Hannafin, K., Land, S., & Oliver, K. (1997). Grounded practice and the design of constructivist learning environments.Educational Technology Research and Development, 45(3), 101–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hannafin, M., Hill, J., & Land, S. (1997). Student-centered learning and interactive multimedia: Status, issues, and implication.Contemporary Education, 68(2), 94–99.Google Scholar
  24. Hannafin, M., & Land, S. (1997). The foundations and assumptions of technology-enhanced student-centered learning environments.Instructional Science, 25, 167–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hannafin, M., Land, S., & Oliver, K. (1999). Open learning environments: Foundations, methods, and models. In C. Reigeluth (Ed.),Instructional design theories and models, Volume II. Mahway, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  26. Hawley, C., & Duffy, T. (1997).Design model for learner-centered, computer-based simulations. ERIC Document Reproduction Service # ED 423 838Google Scholar
  27. Herrington, J., & Oliver, R. (1999, February).An instructional design framework for authentic learning environments. Paper presented at the Association for Educational Communications and Technology conference, Houston, TX.Google Scholar
  28. Hill, J., & Land, S. (1997).Open-ended learning environments: A theoretical framework and model for design. ERIC Document Reproduction Service # ED 423 839Google Scholar
  29. Jackson, S., Stratford, S., Krajcik, J., & Soloway, E. (1995, April).Making system dynamics modeling accessible to pre-college science students. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.Google Scholar
  30. Jacobson, M., & Spiro, R. (1994). A framework for the contextual analysis of technology-based learning environments.Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 5(2), 3–32.Google Scholar
  31. Johnson, D.W., & Johnson, R.T. (1991).Learning together and alone. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  32. Jonassen, D. (1991). Evaluating constructivist learning.Educational Technology, September, 28–33.Google Scholar
  33. Jonassen, D. (1997). Instructional design models for well-structured and ill-structured problem-solving learning outcomes.Educational Technology Research and Development, 45(1), 65–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Krajcik, J., Soloway, E., Blumenfeld, P., & Marx, R. (1998). Scaffolded technology tools to promote teaching and learning in science. In C. Dede (Ed.),ASCD 1998 Yearbook: Learning with Technology. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.Google Scholar
  35. Land, S., & Hannafin, M. (1994).Student-centered learning environments: Foundations, assumptions, and implications. ERIC Document Reproduction Service # ED 397 810Google Scholar
  36. Linn, M. (1995). Designing computer learning environments for engineering and computer science: The scaffolded knowledge integration framework.Journal of Science Education and Technology, 4(2), 103–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Linn, M., Shear, L., Bell, P., & Slotta, J.D. (1999). Organizing principles for science education partnerships: Case studies of students' learning about ‘rats in space’ and ‘deformed frogs.’Educational Technology Research and Development, 47(2), 61–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mathison, S. (1988). Why triangulate?Educational Researcher, 17, 13–17.Google Scholar
  39. McCombs, B., & Whisler, J.S. (1997).The learner-centered classroom and school: Strategies for increasing student motivation and achievement. San Fancisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  40. Means, B. (1994). Introduction: Using technology to advance educational goals. In B. Means (Ed.),Technology and education reform: The reality behind the promise. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  41. Merriam, S.B. (1988).Case study research in education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  42. Oliver, K. (1996).Realizing the potential of scaffolded instruction in situated learning environments: Lessons from a formative evaluation. ERIC Document Reproduction Service # ED 413 310Google Scholar
  43. Palincsar, A., & Brown, A. (1984). Reciprocal teaching and comprehension-fostering and monitoring activities.Cognition & Instruction, 1(2), 117–175.Google Scholar
  44. Roehler, L., & Cantlon, D. (1997). Scaffolding: A powerful tool in social constructivist classrooms. In K. Hogan & M. Pressley (Eds.),Scaffolding student learning: Instructional approaches and issues. Cambridge, MA: Brookline.Google Scholar
  45. Savery, J.R., & Duffy, T.M. (1995). Problem based learning: An instructional model and its constructivist framework.Educational Technology, 35(5), 31–38.Google Scholar
  46. Saye, J.W. (1997). Technology and educational empowerment: Students' perspectives.Educational Technology Research and Development, 45(2), 5–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Saye, J.W. (1998). Technology in the classroom: The role of dispositions in teacher gatekeeping.Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 13(3), 210–234.Google Scholar
  48. Saye, J.W., & Brush, T. (1999). Student engagement with social issues in a multimedia-supported learning environment.Theory and Research in Social Education, 27(4), 468–500.Google Scholar
  49. Scaradamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (1991). An architecture for collaborative knowledge building. In E. DeCorte, M. Linn, H. Mandl, & L. Verschaffel (Eds.),Computer-based learning environments and problem solving. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  50. Schwartz, D.L., Brophy, S., Lin, X., & Bransford, J.D. (1999). Software for managing complex learning: Examples from an educational psychology course.Educational Technology Research and Development, 47(2), 39–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Scott, B., & Brush, T.A. (1998). Teaching instructional technology: A problem-based learning approach.Canadian Journal of Educational Communications, 27(1), 1–18.Google Scholar
  52. Sept, J. (1997).Investigating olduvai: Archaeology of human origins. [Computer Program]. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Slavin, R.E. (1995).Cooperative learning: Theory, research, and practice. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  54. Voss, J.F., Greene, T.R., Post, T.A., & Penner, B.C. (1983). Problem solving skill in the social sciences. In G.H. Bower (Ed.),The psychology of learning and motivation: Advances in research and theory. New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  55. Vygotsky, L.S. (1978).Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Wineburg, S.S. (1991). Historical problem solving: A study of cognitive processes used in the evaluation of documentary and pictorial evidence.Journal of Educational Psychology, 83(1), 73–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Yin, R. (1984).Case study research: Design and methods. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  58. Young, M. (1993). Instructional design for situated learning.Educational Technology Research and Development, 41(1), 43–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Brush
    • 1
  • John Saye
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Psychology in EducationArizona State UniversityTempe
  2. 2.Division of Curriculum and TeachingAuburn UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations