Flexible delivery methods and achievement of learning outcomes in psychology

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Flexible delivery methods and achievement of learning outcomes in psychology
Completion status: this resource is ~10% complete.


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Debate exists amongst teachers, students, and broader society about the merits and demerits of technology-enhanced flexible approaches to delivery mode in higher education - or, more simply, the whether attendance (bums on seats) at lectures and tutorials on campus matters in achievement of learning outcomes.

Psychology studies

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A small sample (N = ?) from Victoria University (Australia) psychology students found that web-based lecture technology allowed students to learn in different ways - and that different patterns of use did not lead to differences in achievement of learning outcomes[1][2].

University of Queensland (UQ) found a significant partial correlation of .17 (or d = .34) between attendance and self-report academic grade.


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Hattie’s Visible Learning meta-meta-analysis finds d ~ .5 for technology-enhanced learning, but there are many more powerful predictors of learning.

Does attendance matter?

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The attendance variable may be something of a red herring during an educational culture shift as staff who were trained used using offline 20th century learning methods struggle to adapt to make effective use of 21st century technology-enhanced learning methods.

Possible UC study

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As issues about the relative merits/demerits of flexible delivery vs. on-campus attendance remain debated and unclear, further research would be helpful. In the context of curriculum review of the undergraduate psychology course at the University of Canberra, there is potential to investigate and better understand how flexible learning and other delivery modes may be used to enhance student learning.

See also

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Chapin, L. A. (2018). Australian university students' access to web-based lecture recordings and the relationship with lecture attendance and academic performance. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 34, 1-12. doi: https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.2989.

Hattie, J. (2008). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. Routledge.[3]

Louis, W. R., Bastian, B., McKimmie, B., & Lee, A. J. (2016). Teaching psychology in Australia: Does class attendance matter for performance? Australian Journal of Psychology, 68(1), 47-51.

Oerlemans, K. A model to guide the adoption of quality e-Learning: Foundational, interactive and transformational. Kairos Consultancy and Training.

Oerlemans, K., & Busby Grant, J. (2014). Accessible Information anytime, anywhere: The intentional use of videos in Psychology for learning and reducing statistical anxiety. Kairos Consultancy and Training.