Support Device Usage
Learning environments typically confront learners with a number of support devices. These support devices aim at helping learners in their learning; they provide a learning opportunity. As suggested by Perkins (Educational Researcher 14:11–17, 1985), it can be assumed that in order for these support devices to be beneficial (1) the opportunity has to be there, i.e., the support device has to be functional; (2) the learners have to recognize this opportunity, and (3) the learners have to be motivated to use the opportunity or the support device.
Given that the use of the devices may strongly affect the effectiveness of learning environments and that usage seems to be problematic (Clarebout & Elen, Computers in Human Behavior 22:389–411, 2006), usage is a key issue for instructional design. This chapter reviews recent research on the impact of different learner variables on support device usage. First the functionalities and categorization of support devices is discussed, followed by an overview of different learner variables and their effect on support device usage. Next, the interactions between these learner variables and specific support device characteristics are discussed. In conclusion current issues with respect to research on support device usage are discussed and possible solutions to encourage support device usage are introduced.
KeywordsSupport devices Support device usage Learning opportunity
The authors are grateful to the Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek—Vlaanderen (FWO) grant G.0408.09 that provided the opportunity to write this chapter.
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