Narrative Evolution: Learning from Students' Talk about Species Variation

In IJAIED 12 (1): "Part II of the Special Issue on Analysing Educational Dialogue Interaction"

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Abstract

Learners do not always enjoy productive interactions with Multimedia Interactive Learning Environments. Their attention can be distracted away from the educational focus intended by designers and teachers through poor design and operational inadequacy. In this paper we describe a study of groups of learners using a multimedia CD-ROM research tool called Galapagos. This tool was developed to enable us to observe groups of learners interacting with different versions of the same multimedia content. These different versions implemented different forms of guidance for learners both within the presented narrative structure of the material and in the tools offered to learners to help them build the individual content elements into a coherent whole. Our empirical work was conducted with groups of learners within their educational establishment using the Galapagos CD-ROM as part of their studies for national examinations in Biology. Their sessions with Galapagos were recorded using video and audio and our analysis of their dialogue has enabled us to gain a greater understanding of the factors that contribute to productive, educationally focused learning interactions. Through the construction of different representations we have been able to coordinate information about interactivity between learners and system at the interface with interactivity between individual learners within the group around the system interface. Varying the quantity and quality of guidance impacts upon the trajectory learners construct through multimedia content; it also influences the manner in which they use the facilities provided by system designers to assist them in their construction of task answers.