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Using video to evaluate student learning with CD-ROMs


Lydia Plowman
Scottish Council for Research in Education
Rosemary Luckin
University of Sussex
Diana Laurillard, Matthew Stratforld, Josie Taylor
Open University

Scottish Council for Research in Education
15 St. John Street
Edinburgh, EH8 8JR
tel: 0131 557 2944
fax: 0131 556 9454



Learning involves complex communicative and meaning-making competences. We describe using video, as one of several sources of data, to capture some of the complexities of the learning experience when students used three different versions of a CD-ROM designed to teach the principles of natural selection. Each version had similar content and stated the task in the same format (to explain the variation in the wildlife on the Galapagos Islands and write the answer in the notepad) but had a different structure.

We used the richness of the video recordings to investigate how students' learning strategies interacted with the technology. We explored the ways in which design features elicit and foster different kinds of learner behaviour, how these cue users into various styles of interaction with the CD-ROM, and how students make sense of the material. In this context, the constituents of learning included searching and locating, relating the content to other issues, hypothesising, use of recall, keeping track of their route and content, and defining the task and the information required to complete the task. We describe what we have learnt about their learning strategies, including opportunistic 'cheating' and the importance of the context of delivery.

Every session had two video recorded sources: one of the group of students, the other of the screen image. We supplemented this with other sources of data, including post-activity descriptions of the lesson and teacher assessment of their work. Our analyses therefore encompass the structure of the content, design of the interface and their interrelationships with learning.

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Last modified: 1 December 1999 (formatting).
Original text 21 May 1998.