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Using the Personalization Hypothesis to Design E-Learning Environments


This paper reports a study that set out to test the personalization hypothesis in the domain of chemistry. E-learning environments were used in this study that were compulsory pre-laboratory activities, used to prepare students to carry out experiments in chemistry. Retention and transfer tests were conducted immediately after students had completed the pre-laboratory work and were used to investigate students’ academic performance. Approximately 600 students took part in the project in semester 2, 2005 and about 800 participated in semester 1, 2008, as well as a small bridging course group in 2007. Each study covered a range of levels of prior knowledge within the domain. Characteristics of language background and gender were also taken into account.

Our findings revealed that the personalized group does not in general perform significantly differently from the non-personalized group. However, it appears that the different performance of personalized or non-personalized groups is dependent on prior knowledge of participants in the domain under study. If prior knowledge is weak, significant improvements have been found for personalized over non-personalized instruction.


  • Academic Performance
  • Transfer Test
  • Online Module
  • Language Background
  • Chemistry Student

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-9732-4_25
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Fig. 1
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Fig. 3


BC: :

Bridging Course


Fundamentals of Chemistry 1A


Chemistry 1A


Chemistry 1A (Advanced)


Fundamentals of Chemistry 1B


Chemistry 1B


Chemistry 1B (Advanced)


English-speaking background


Higher School Certificate




Non-English-speaking background




Student Identification Number


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The authors would like to thank all University of Sydney students who agreed to participate in this study. Data collections described in this work were authorized by the University of Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee, project reference numbers 08–2005/4/8461.

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Correspondence to S. Schmid .

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Yeung, A., Schmid, S., George, A., King, M. (2009). Using the Personalization Hypothesis to Design E-Learning Environments. In: Gupta-Bhowon, M., Jhaumeer-Laulloo, S., Li Kam Wah, H., Ramasami, P. (eds) Chemistry Education in the ICT Age. Springer, Dordrecht.

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