Strategies to Enhance Learner s Motivation in E-learning Environment

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1 Strategies to Enhance Learner s Motivation in E-learning Environment M. Samir Abou El-Seoud Faculty of Informatics and Computer Science, British University in Egypt (BUE), Cairo, Egypt Mahmoud El-Khouly Faculty of Computers and Information Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt Abstract Web-based learning tools provide integrated environments of various technologies to support diverse educators and learners needs via the Internet. Motivation strategies in online distance learning and e-learning should be identified early in the process so as to enhance the learning outcomes. Online learning can be more flexible and often involves more technologies that can give learners the opportunity to interact with instructors and other learners effectively and flexibly. Recent studies indicate that university students who have been enrolled on e-learning courses outperform those being taught on traditional courses. An example of this can be found at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in America where student exam results have shown improvement as a result of e-learning techniques. It is therefore imperative that an education system is created which is capable of rapid adaption to its technological, social, cultural and political environment. This paper shows that the use of interactive features of e-learning increases the motivation of undergraduate students for the learning process. Keywords e-learning, higher education, motivation, educational system in Egypt, web-based learning Islam A.T.F. Taj-Eddin Faculty of Computers and Information, Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt while summative is taken at the end of the course []. Summative was proven the most appropriate in obtaining the students awareness. Homework, tests and class discussions are methods to measure the student s performance or achievement. Activities are learning in many classrooms is fugitive, recordable only at great cost and inconvenience []. The preliminary study in [5] illustrates the relationship between interactive features of e-learning and the motivation of undergraduate students for the sake of learning process. II. RESEARCH METHOD AND PROCEDURES A. A. Design and Approach How far e-learning has helped to increase the motivation of students towards learning a subject?, that question is the aim of this research. A qualitative approach of data collection found to be suitable for the research aim. It depends on the results of feedback from a questionnaire given to students to evaluate their willingness to use e- learning. The qualitative results had been obtained from a questionnaire. That questionnaire had been obtained to the students of a private validated university, i.e. The British University in Egypt (BUE)[7]. BUE has a relevant experience with e-learning and can offer insights into the factors affecting the present and future state of online education. I. INTRODUCTION In order to support diverse needs of educators and learners, internet provides integrated environments of various webbased learning tools technologies. The goal of these tools is to enhance face-to-face instruction and to deliver distancelearning courses. There have been several studies and frameworks developed for analyzing these tools from B. B. Hypothesis tests and procedures pedagogical and institutional perspectives [6] and []. Frameworks such as these provide guidance on what factors to consider and how they may be applied when educators and administrators are considering deploying web-based learning tools. However, they provide no information about how easy or difficult the tools are to use. Very few case studies have been conducted to identify potential usability issues with these tools. The course material is prepared via a variety of educational strategies in order to suit with the variety of learning styles of students. Assessments can be either formative or summative. Formative is taken throughout the duration of the course, In this study, we aim to investigate precisely the effect of using interactive features of e-learning on the students motivation for the learning process. A specific testable prediction about what we might expect to happen in this study is a hypothesis that is based on observation. A survey questionnaire has been designed to measure students attitude towards web-based learning opposed to traditional face-toface learning environments. In statistical inference on observational data, the null hypothesis, denoted by H, refers to a general statement or default position that there is no relationship between two measured phenomena. Rejecting or disproving the null hypothesis and thus concluding that there /5/$. 5 IEEE - September 5, Florence, Italy Proceedings of 5 International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL)

2 are grounds for believing that there is a relationship between two phenomena. H is generally assumed to be true until evidence indicates otherwise. Null hypothesis is a statistical hypothesis that is tested for possible rejection under the assumption that it is true. The hypothesis contrary to the null hypothesis, usually that the observations are the result of a real effect, is known as the alternative hypothesis. The alternative hypothesis, denoted by H i (i=,,..) is the hypothesis that sample observations are influenced by some non-random cause. The alternative hypothesis is the one you would believe if the null hypothesis is concluded to be untrue. The evidence in the trial is your data and the statistics that go along with it. All hypothesis tests ultimately use a p-value to weigh the strength of the evidence (what the data are telling you about the population). When you perform a hypothesis test in statistics, a p-value helps you determine the significance of your results. The p-value is a number between and and interpreted in the following way: A small p-value (typically.5) indicates strong evidence against the null hypothesis, so you reject the null hypothesis. A large p-value (>.5) indicates weak evidence against the null hypothesis, so you fail to reject the null hypothesis. p-values very close to the cutoff (.5) are considered to be marginal (could go either way). The research hypotheses are: H: Students will generally show preference towards webbased activities as opposed to traditional method of learning, H: Students preferences towards web-based activities will be affected by the module leader, H: Students preferences towards web-based activities will be affected by the subject of study, H: Students preferences towards web-based activities will be affected by the level of study, H5: Students interactions with teachers and classmates are enhanced via web-based activities. C. Participants The participants of the research were natural groups. This means that the students were enrolled and studying at the university before the research had begun. BUE had introduced e-learning as a learning tool to support traditional face-to-face lectures/classes. Moodle version. and higher is used. E- learning has been used as an essential tool for the learning process. This study was part of a longitudinal effort to understand the use of technology in teaching within higher education. D. The Questionnaire and Results The questionnaire was designed to measure student attitudes towards e-learning for the modules to be included in the study. The questionnaire was adapted slightly to reflect the different modules the research was focusing on. The questionnaire consisted of 9 questions. Each question contained five Likert scales: Strongly agree, Agree, Neither agree nor disagree, Disagree, Strongly disagree for each question. The results of the questionnaire are shown in figures,, and. The Y axis shows the value of the mean for the responses of the students as well as the value of the standard deviation. The maximum value of the mean is five (i.e. Strongly agree=5, Agree=, Neither agree nor disagree=, Disagree=, Strongly disagree=, No answer=). The questionnaire (See Table ) was paper based. It was administered to three different groups of students. The first group is nd year students who already finished Digital Design and Computer Architecture modules at fall with module leader S. The second group is st year students who are currently taking Digital Design module at spring 5 with module leader N. The third group is nd year students who are currently taking Computer Graphics module at spring 5 with module leader S. TABLE I. THE QUESTIONNAIRE USED FOR THE SURVEY FOR THE COMPUTER GRAPHICS MODULE I like using e-learning for Computer Graphics The information, strategies and instructional methods posted online were helpful It successfully delivered the stated objectives This online course was effective at helping you reach those learning objectives? 5 The sessions ware challenging 6 I find Computer Graphics modules easier when the teacher uses e- Learning in their teaching 7 The information was received when requested 8 The information posted on the e-learning meet your expectation 9 I received the answer to my questions within the time requested I was happy with the answer to my questions My question was answered in full I did not receive the information that I required I received the answer to my enquiry too late for it to be useful I am unwilling to learn Computer Graphics modules through using e-learning 5 I think the teacher s application of e-learning in teaching Multimedia modules is not useful 6 By using e-learning for Computer Graphics modules, the opportunity of interaction with the teacher is enhanced 7 By using e-learning for Computer Graphics modules, the opportunity of interaction with my classmates is enhanced 8 By using e-learning for Computer Graphics modules encourages me to continue learning via the Internet by myself 9 I hope teachers of Computer Graphics continue to use e-learning in their teaching /5/$. 5 IEEE - September 5, Florence, Italy Proceedings of 5 International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL)

3 Figure. Questionnaire ( Students-Digital Design-Fall -Module leader S). Blue bars are the mean. Red bars are the standard deviation Figure. Questionnaire ( Students-Computer Architecture-Fall - Module leader S). Blue bars are the mean. Red bars are the standard deviation Figure. Questionnaire ( Students-Digital Design-Spring 5-Module leader N). Blue bars are the mean. Red bars are the standard deviation Figure. Questionnaire ( Students-Computer Graphics-Spring 5- Module leader S). Blue bars are the mean. Red bars are the standard deviation Figure 5. P-value for the two groups of figure and figure Figure 6. P-value for the two groups of figure and figure Figure 7. P-value for the two groups of figure and figure Figure 8. P-value for the two groups of figure and figure /5/$. 5 IEEE - September 5, Florence, Italy Proceedings of 5 International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL)

4 Figure 9. P-value for the two groups of figure and figure Figure. P-value for the two groups of figure and figure The results of the questionnaire surveys show that: From Figures, and 5 students have close opinions for all questions (p >.5). Mean and standard deviations values are not significantly different between figures and. They are the same group of students, the same semester, the same module leader and different subject of study. From Figures, and 6 students have close opinions for all questions (p >.5). Mean and standard deviations values are not significantly different between figures and. They are different group of students, different semester, different module leader and the same subject of study. From Figures, and 7 students have close opinions for all questions (p >.5), except: p-value The questions, and of figure having significantly high mean and smaller standard deviation than other figures, that make the results of figure more reliable. The question of figure has higher mean value and higher standard deviation than the same question at figure, that make the result of figure more reliable. They are different group of students, different semester, the same module leader and different subject of study. From Figures, and 8 students have close opinions for all questions (p >.5). Mean and standard deviations values are not significantly different between figures and. They are different group of students, different semester, different module leader and different subject of study. From Figures, and 9 students have close opinions for all questions (p >.5), except: p-value.7.9 Mean values of questions and are significantly higher and more reliable, i.e. smaller standard deviation, for figure. They are different group of students, different semester, the same module leader and different subject of study. From Figures, and students have close opinions for all questions (p >.5), except: p-value The questions and of figure having significantly high mean and smaller standard deviation than other figures, that make the results of figure more reliable. The question of figure has higher mean value and higher standard deviation than the same question at figure, that make the result of figure more reliable. They are different group of students, the same semester, different module leader and different subject of study. From all of the above and for the students of the same faculty: H will be evaluated by the questions, 8 and 9. It will be accepted, H will be evaluated by the questions 6 and 5. It will be accepted, H will be evaluated by the questions,,,5,7,8,9,,, and. It will be rejected, H will be evaluated by question. It will be rejected, H5 will be evaluated by questions 6 and 7. It will be accepted. From H, H, H, H, H5 and [5] students prefer webbased activities; it will enhance their communications with /5/$. 5 IEEE - September 5, Florence, Italy Proceedings of 5 International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL)

5 teacher and classmates. Even with the fact that the preference of students towards web-based activities will be affected by the teacher, students still see the benefits of using multimedia effects into web-based activities as appeared from the results of question 5 in figures,,,, 5 and 6. The rejection of hypothesis H and H lead to the conclusion that the subject and level of study do not affect the motivation of the students. The students are motivated and aware of the importance of the web-based activities regardless of the subject or level of study. The above results are encouraging for further research to be conducted in this area. It is essential for teachers to understand their students motivations. Although students take online courses with the intention of successfully completing them, they tend to fail for a number of reasons. The success or failure of online instruction is perhaps related to student motivation. Creating motivating and effective elearning requires intentionality and an attention to the learner. Accordingly, achieving the first stage and fulfilling the needs of students will require teachers to take into account a number of considerations to stimulate students: ) Avoid students from feeling isolated and they are working independently by encouraging students to learn about each other. Keep in mind that isolation may lead to a lack of attention. Instructors should log in regularly, leave feedback and encourage students to leave feedback as well. One way to increase the student s attention is by inquiry whereby the instructor asks a thought question which will generate interest in the student and also by encouraging the students to post their own questions. Another way to keep the student s attention is by variability so as to keep the student interested. This can be done by for example using different examples to explain something [] ) Build study groups so that students will no longer be studying in isolation. ) Give students various choices in order to give them a sense of control and to be responsible for their learning. ) Keep in mind that motivation must be natured in students. 5) Explain how the online environment may be used. 6) Encourage interaction and collaboration among students. This might be of great value. 7) Encourage students to post their personal inquires and immediate feedback should be provided to keep good communication. 8) Build competency by challenging existing beliefs and actions, as well as testing out new ideas. 9) Help students to make friends by meeting fellow students in the online environment. ) Interact with the students by monitoring the online presence of them and supplying them with continuous feedback. ) Design course work very carefully where the challenge level is gradually raised to avoid frustration. Effective elearning courses lead learners to authentic successful moments through clear goals. ) Create realistic course work problems that seem to be challenged and convinced. ) Construct learning materials and environment to target your students. ) Include in your course work novel content to stimulate interest and alertness of your students 5) Add a variety of activities and ways of thinking. This should build new neural pathways that help the brain solve problems, remain engaged and stay motivated to learn even more. 6) Use different type of examples to demonstrate a concept. 7) Add richness to your environment in a way that they are able to change regularly and ensures that your environment will have an enduring interest for the students across time. 8) Facilitate the students interaction with the online material by explaining the goal behind designated tasks. 9) Be aware of students frightened, worries and nervousness because such anxiety may have a negative effect on their accessibility and motivation. ) Be aware of students knowledge to be able to detect their actual needs ) Be aware of students anxiousness, because such anxiety may have a negative impact on their accessibility and motivation. ) Provide opportunities for students to engage in a deeper level of thinking. This should lead to creativity and critical thinking. ) Add a variety of tasks and ways of thinking. This should actually build new neural pathways that help the brain solve problems, remain engaged and stay motivated to learn even more. ) Consider very carefully the technological ability of the students. 5) Provide a structured, but flexible learning schedule and let students knowing what to expect next. 6) Provide a variety of learning environments. This could be achieved by making lessons mobile. Study could be taken place anywhere and at anytime. 7) Build on your students interests and adapt lessons to incorporate students interests. 8) Use educational games to support learning material. There are many different apps and sites that offer fun games to encourage learning in all subject areas. 9) Tie e-learning activities into hands on learning. Students should be able to take the knowledge they gained and apply it to real world situations. ) Construct your learning environment to target your students. ) Design content to be relevant to students goals and intentions to avoid loose of interest in the subject. ) Be aware about the students skills and knowledge and deliver relevant material depending on the students experience. Also, the objectives and material of the course should be related to the goals that the student wants to achieve. ) Help students to gain confidence. This could be easily achieved when students succeed in what they are doing /5/$. 5 IEEE - September 5, Florence, Italy5 Proceedings of 5 International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL)

6 and achieve their goals. By increasing their confidence they become more motivated. Performance criteria which are posted online should be carried out to motivate students to further their successes. Postings by the students should be encouraged and immediate feedback should also be provided so as to keep good communication []. ) Post performance criteria for success. Performance criteria should include regular online participation in class as well as assignments. 5) Post very clearly class rules within the class syllabus 6) Apply a consistent, clear and fair strategy among all students. Fairness is also important to motivate students and students who do not meet the performances required or who break rules should suffer consequences [] [5] S. A. El-Seoud, M. El-Khouly, and I.A.T.F. Taj-Eddin, Motivation in E-learning: How do we keep learners motivated in an e-learning environment?, ICFET5, China. [6] S. Britain, and O. Liber, A Framework for Pedagogical Evaluation of Virtual Learning Environments,998, Retrived from: [7] The British University in Egypt, III. CONCLUSION AND FURTHER RESEARCH Student motivation must be an important priority for instructors. It is more difficult to assess student motivations online since one does not have personal contact. One way to overcome this difficulty is to design an online assessment form on motivation for the students to fill in. If not tackled properly, more technology does not imply better learning [] E-learning could not be ignored in educational system in Egypt. The above results are encouraging for further research to be conducted in this area in the future in order to explain these results and to investigate further hypothesis that motivate students to use and benefit from e-learning system. Future advances in internet technology, especially in wireless bandwidth internet connections, will have a great impact in motivation towards delivering and using more online learning and interactive lessons. Some questions should be considered for future work: How will online instructors be ready to meet the challenges brought by projected increases in learner demands for online education? How can we expand the results and the perspectives of this research to the worldwide education system? This research is created using samples from the Egyptian education system. REFERENCES [] B.R. Worthen, and J.R. Sanders, Educational evaluation: Alternative approaches and practical guidelines, White Plains, NY: Longman, 987. [] C. Pantel, A Framework for Comparing Web-Based Learning Environments, Master s thesis, School of Computing Science, Simon Fraser University, Canada, 997. [] D. Picar, E-Learning and Motivation, ITEC 86, December, 9. Retrvied at from: [] R.J. Wlodkowski, Adults in Modern Society are on a Lifelong Educational Journey, 5. Retrieved from: m /5/$. 5 IEEE - September 5, Florence, Italy6 Proceedings of 5 International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL)

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