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Multimedia and individualised learning in GCSE English Literature.

MARTIN, STEWART,MCKENZIE (2012) Multimedia and individualised learning in GCSE English Literature. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This research aimed to provide insight into the use and possible value of purpose built multimedia computer software for the study of English Literature. The software in question was developed in light of many years practical experience of teaching English Literature to secondary school students preparing for external examinations and was designed with the aim of improving their knowledge and understanding of particular works of literature.

Informed by a critique of the main research findings about ICT use in learning and teaching since the period when computers were introduced into mainstream schools from the 1980s, the empirical research investigated two of the most prominent theoretical and practical perspectives that have been applied to understanding the relationship between educational resources and learning: Learning Styles Theory and Cognitive Load Theory. These two approaches and their associated instrumentation were applied in a quasi-experimental controlled empirical study in four schools in the north-east of England where the multimedia software was used with groups of students embarking on a study of Shakespeare's Macbeth for GCSE examination.

Learning Styles theory and the instrumentation used (Kolb's LSI and Honey & Mumford's LSQ) proved less successful than Cognitive Load Theory in demonstrating reliability and validity and therefore in explaining the relationship between different instructional resources and individual learning.

The theoretical integrity and usefulness of these two approaches is discussed and, in particular, the rationale behind the continued use of Learning Styles was explored via interview with school faculty who gave reasons of face validity; the pressure from external inspection; the mechanisms through which they were held professionally accountable; senior management and institutional policy; the legacy of initial teacher training; and established classroom practice.

Students using the multimedia software demonstrated improvements in their knowledge and understanding of Macbeth equivalent on average to one GCSE grade above those not using the multimedia resource and Cognitive Load Theory was found to be successful in explaining this and in predicting the relationship between instructional resource and the learning gains of individuals.

Limitations of the study are drawn along with conclusions for further research and for enhancing teaching and learning with multimedia resources.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:multimedia, individualised learning, english literature, cognitive load, learning styles
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:21 Aug 2012 14:38

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