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Journal Article

The Role of Essay Tests Assessment in e‑Learning: A Japanese Case Study  pp173-178

Minoru Nakayama, Hiroh Yamamoto

© Mar 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECEL 2009, Editor: Shirley Williams, Florin Salajan, pp51 - 208

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Abstract

e‑Learning has some restrictions on how learning performance is assessed. Online testing is usually in the form of multiple‑choice questions, without any essay type of learning assessment. Major reasons for employing multiple‑choice tasks in e‑learning include ease of implementation and ease of managing learner's responses. To address this limitation in online assessment of learning, this study investigated an automatic assessment system as a natural language processing tool for conducting essay‑type tests in online learning. The study also examined the relationship between learner characteristics and learner performance in essay‑testing. Furthermore, the use of evaluation software for scoring Japanese essays was compared with experts' assessment and scoring of essay tests. Students were enrolled in two‑unit courses which were taught by the same professor as follows: hybrid learning course at bachelor's level, fully online course at bachelor's level, and hybrid learning course at masters level. All students took part in the final test which included two essay‑tests at the end of course, and received the appropriate credit units. Learner characteristics were measured using five constructs: motivation, personality, thinking styles, information literacy and self‑assessment of online learning experience. The essay‑tests were assessed by two outside experts. They found the two essay‑tests to be sufficient for course completion. Another score, which was generated using assessment software, consisted of three factors: rhetoric, logical structure and content fitness. Results show that experts' assessment significantly correlates with the factor of logical structure on the essay for all courses. This suggests that expert evaluation of the essay is focused on logical structure rather than other factors. When comparing the score of experts' assessment between hybrid learning and fully online courses at the bachelor's level, no significant differences were found. This indicates that in fully online learning, as well as in hybrid learning, learning performance can be measured using essay tests without the need for a face‑to‑face session to conduct this type of assessment.

 

Keywords: online learning, essay-testing, learner characteristics, learning performance

 

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Journal Article

The Impact of Learner Characteristics on Learning Performance in Hybrid Courses among Japanese Students  pp195-206

Minoru Nakayama, Hiroh Yamamoto, Rowena Santiago

© Aug 2010 Volume 5 Issue 3, ICEL 2007, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp173 - 250

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Abstract

To improve the management of hybrid courses, the relationship between learner characteristics and learning performance was analyzed in two regular university courses. Undergraduate and graduate students participated in two 15‑week hybrid courses which consisted of face‑to‑face lectures (Information Industrial issues), and the corresponding modules with online test. Subjects included 36 freshmen and 48 graduate students. Learner characteristics, consisting of motivation, personality, thinking styles and learners? impression of their e‑Learning experiences were measured at the beginning and end of the term. Additional data was collected from the number of days attended, the number of modules completed, test scores and final grades for the course. Final assessment grades for the class were also analyzed. There was no significant difference in learner characteristics between bachelors and masters students who completed the course. There was no significant difference in learner characteristics between bachelor and master students, but there were some differences in conscientiousness scores between masters and bachelor students and between those who received a final grade of A and B. Scores on "learning strategy" as a factor to indicate learning experience were in favour of master students. Master students? evaluation of their e‑Learning experience increased significantly throughout the course. Conscientiousness (one of the five factors in the personality construct) correlated positively with the number of e‑ Learning modules completed by master students (r=0.35). They seem to understand better the benefits of e‑Learning experience and being the more motivated students, they applied what they have learned from previous e‑Learning experiences more effectively. Students with high grades evaluated their e‑Learning experience positively and had significantly higher conscientiousness scores than master students who received lower grades (p<0.05). For bachelor students, the number of modules completed correlates with both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Other learner characteristics did not affect learning performance. The reason may be that bachelor students have yet to understand well the benefits of e‑Learning and still lack the learning strategies needed for university coursework. The causal analysis was conducted using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) technique, and the result indicated that learner characteristics had an effect on learning experience and learning performance. These results suggest that understanding the benefits of e‑Learning and learner characteristics, as well as knowing how to learn with e‑Learning content could provide important key for promoting student success in online learning.

 

Keywords: learner characteristics, blended learning, learning practice, learning performance, path analysis

 

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