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Assessing the cognitive fit of hypertext-based learning aids for advanced learning in complex and ill-structured domains

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Assessing the cognitive fit of hypertext-based learning aids for advanced learning in complex and ill-structured domains

Ramirez, Alejandro (1998) Assessing the cognitive fit of hypertext-based learning aids for advanced learning in complex and ill-structured domains. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Leidner and Jarvenpaa's (95) theoretical views on the use of Information Technology (IT) to enhance Management School Education indicate that Hypermedia and the Internet have a "primary match" with both the Constructivist and the Cognitive Information Processing theories of learning, mainly because these technologies allow learners to create their own knowledge structures. This situation makes them compatible with Schein's (92) and Zuboff's (88) "visions" of IT in organizations when these visions are extended to include the impact of IT on electronic classrooms. Literature regarding the use of hypermedia for training and education has been inconsistent when it comes to assessing its benefits. Some researchers indicate that there are advantages, others indicate that there are none. A similar situation in the Graphs versus Tables literature was settled by Vessey's (91) Cognitive Fit Theory. Within this theory, Vessey (91) indicated that when the tool provided matches the task at hand, performance increases in both accuracy and speed. If hypertext is considered as a tool to help in problem-solving, it is possible to use the Cognitive Fit Theory as an evaluation construct. We empirically investigated the cognitive fit of hypertext-based learning aids for advanced learning in complex and ill-structured domains. This research was motivated by the following factors: (1) existing results regarding the benefits of hypertext-based learning aids are inconclusive; (2) hypertext has the potential to enhance the usefulness and usability of learning and training tools; (3) it is often argued that hypertext is useful in facilitating knowledge dissemination; and (4) there is no general agreement in how to evaluate hypertext as a learning and training tool. Under the proposition that problem-solving with cognitive fit results in increased problem-solving efficiency and effectiveness, a theoretical framework is needed to provide answers to the research questions: (1) do hypertext-based learning aids enhance the acquisition of advanced knowledge? (2) will the advantages (speed and accuracy) of using hypertext-based learning aids increase when we increase the complexity of the material? Two learning aids, a hypertext-based and a computer-based linear version were compared in an experiment. The learning material was the Lucas, Ginzberg and Schultz' (90) Information Systems Implementation Model. Speed and accuracy of subjects' performance were assessed quantitatively and qualitatively using verbal protocol analysis. Data were collected using a set of validated tools that include a test, two cases, a questionnaire, a tracing device, and verbal protocols. The data analysis shows, as expected, a significant difference in efficiency and effectiveness between the groups at the highest level of complexity tested, and no differences at the lowest level. Verbal protocols show that subjects using the hypertext module had a deeper understanding of the relationships among the variables of the model.

Divisions:Concordia University > John Molson School of Business
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Ramirez, Alejandro
Pagination:xiii, 283 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Faculty of Commerce and Administration
Date:1998
Thesis Supervisor(s):Tomberlin, Jerome Thomas
ID Code:473
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:12
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:14
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