The SITE Conference 2011 was a good, albeit long week in Nashville, TN. I recommend Burger Up if you’re in the area and have a craving for a good bison burger — and a big thanks to Kristen and Tyler for breaking Mete and me out of our hotel purgatory and taking us there.

Anyway, below are our two presentations from the conference. I’ve got a lot to think about with regard to doing theory-based experimental-control research that is readily accessible for practitioners — I’m certainly not the only one.

A mixed-method randomized control-experimental design was used to test the impact of using an interactive, multimedia, and virtual simulation learning system (APR 2.0) on learning transfer among 233 undergraduates in an introductory anatomy course. Results showed that students in the cadaver-only group performed better on identification transfer and explanatory transfer. Additionally, qualitative analysis revealed that students overwhelmingly perceived cadaver-only instruction as most conducive for their learning. Implications for using instructional technology to enhance transfer and student perceptions of technology are discussed.



While theory and research emphasize the role of face-to-face, synchronous interaction in peer learning, it remains unclear whether the same is true of online settings. Accordingly, the present study compared online and face-to-face versions of the peer learning procedure, constructive controversy, randomly assigning 115 undergraduates to a 1 (face-to-face: control) x 3 (video, audio, text) x 2 (synchronous, asynchronous) experimental-control design. Results showed only 68% of asynchronous online students completed the procedure compared to 100% of face-to-face and synchronous online. Moreover, even ‘complete’ asynchronous online students showed motivational declines, with decreasing relatedness, interest, value, and cooperative perceptions compared to face-to-face and synchronous online. Findings suggest that synchronicity plays an important role in both face-to-face and online peer learning.



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