The impact of human-provided external instruction on learning with an interactive learning technology
Davis, Elizabeth, O.
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Even as educational technologies and one-to-one initiatives offer promises of increasing effectiveness and efficiency of learning, the potential impacts on student learning are not being optimized. Despite progress made by interactive learning technologies (ILTs) toward fulfilling the personalized learning dream, they have not yet realized their goal. Based in understandings of cognitive architecture and instructional design theories, this paper explores the notion that an "alternative approach" that combines ILT adaptation and human-provided external instruction is necessary to truly service the highly individual and dynamic needs of learners. Using quantitative methods, the current study examined the impact of the addition of human-provided external instruction on learning with ILTs. Evaluating effects on learning outcomes and instructional efficiency in a suburban public kindergarten setting, the research yields implications for ILT design and implementation that maximizes effectiveness and efficiency of teaching and learning. Findings showed no significant differences in learning outcomes or instructional efficiency based on treatment. Findings suggest current blended learning models are not optimally effective and efficient for all populations and that measures must be taken by ILT designers and practitioners before implementing ILTs with similar populations, based on their unique learner characteristics, such as age, prior exposure, and developmental level. Further implications of findings, limitations of the study, contributions to the field, and recommendations for future research are explored.