One of the many educational institutions doing research into e- learning and its relationship to authoring tools is Rensselaer Poytechnical Institute (RPI). At RPI researchers have begun investigating and experimenting on how adaptive hypermedia when modified affects individual courses having a positive affect on individual students learning. The research is focused primarily on how learners use patterns to adapt course presentation, navigation, and content to their individual needs and preferences. They have developed a course model they have named OctoPlus; which consists of eight instructional features, which represent an instructional method. The first of the eight is connecting which hopes to engage student’s prior knowledge of content, to help the instructor gauge how much existing knowledge the learner has. Second, the reflection activity as students to externalize their thoughts and experiences with the professor to create a mutual understanding. Thirdly share their experiences with whole class and no just the professor to identify shared social knowledge about the subject of the course. All eight steps of the course are used to give the instructors detailed knowledge about what the student knows and how they can share their knowledge. “ I think that a lot of times when instructors are faced with putting their course online there, there aren’t a lot of guides for them other than just transferring their lectures into text- book format” according Linda Polhemus, project manager. At RPI professors and researchers have performed experiments given exactly the same content of courses through distance learner format, one with OctoPlus model and without. According to Mike Danchak professor of Computer Science “ We have found the exact same percentage in both groups, but ht adaptive group did it in a much shorter time period. Cautiously we’re inferring that individualization is more efficient in that maybe we’re giving them what they need to be successful in a shorter period of time rather than looking at perhaps a lot of irrelevant or extraneous things.” It appears that using authoring tools for e- learning in this manner is more effective due to the fact that it touches all colors of the learning spectrum. It is important to note that many is not most learners do not realize which style of learning is preference.
The research being done at Rensselaer imperative to the successful growth to the field of e- learning. As many college professors and high school teacher venture in to distance learning they will need to have guides and establish programs to help them make the transition. Research such as this also greatly helps students learn what types of learning style they prefer. By identify what methods and techniques are successful both teachers and students can save time.
This article illustrates how the body of distance education will continue to evolve as whole. As institutions such as MSAT mention in the previous review look for new ways to incorporate hypermedia into the classroom they need to remember that not all learners learn the same. The normal difference n the classroom can and will be magnified when placed in the distance learning format. Following the OctoPlus model should help all types of learners thrive in distance learning.
Distance Education Report (July 206). Adaptive hypermedia for individual learning. Vol 10, (13).