Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Physics and Astronomy
As research-based, self-paced electronic learning tools become increasingly available, a critical issue educators encounter is implementing strategies to ensure that all students engage with them as intended. Here, we first discuss the effectiveness of electronic learning tutorials as self-paced learning tools in large enrollment brick and mortar introductory physics courses and then propose a framework for helping students engage effectively with the learning tools. The tutorials were developed via research in physics education and were found to be effective for a diverse group of introductory physics students in one-on-one implementation. Instructors encouraged the use of these tools in a self-paced learning environment by telling students that they would be helpful for solving the assigned homework problems and that the underlying physics principles in the tutorial problems would be similar to those in the in-class quizzes (which we call paired problems). We find that many students in the courses in which these interactive electronic learning tutorials were assigned as a self-study tool performed poorly on the paired problems. In contrast, a majority of student volunteers in one-on-one implementation greatly benefited from the tutorials and performed well on the paired problems. The significantly lower overall performance on paired problems administered as an in-class quiz compared to the performance of student volunteers who used the research-based tutorials in one-on-one implementation suggests that many students enrolled in introductory physics courses did not effectively engage with the tutorials outside of class and may have only used them superficially. The findings suggest that many students in need of out-of-class remediation via self-paced learning tools may have difficulty motivating themselves and may lack the self-regulation and time-management skills to engage effectively with tools specially designed to help them learn at their own pace. We conclude by proposing a theoretical framework to help students with diverse prior preparations engage effectively with self-paced learning tools.
Digital Commons Citation
Devore, Seth; Marshman, Emily; and Singh, Chandralekha, "Challenge of engaging all students via self-paced interactive electronic learning tutorials for introductory physics" (2017). Faculty & Staff Scholarship. 918.
DeVore, S., Marshman, E., Singh, C. (2017). Challenge of engaging all students via self-paced interactice electronic learning tutorials for introductory physics. Physical Review Physics Education Research. 13(1).