How do I enhance motivation to learn and higher order cognition among students of Science through the use of a virtual learning environment?
McMahon, Mary (2010) How do I enhance motivation to learn and higher order cognition among students of Science through the use of a virtual learning environment? Educational Journal of Living Theories, 3 (2). pp. 170-192. ISSN 2009-1788
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In this paper I explore the capacity of Moodle to enhance the teaching and learning of Leaving Certificate Biology within a small urban secondary school. I simultaneously investigate the potential of the technology to enhance higher-order cognition and motivation to learn among the students. Adopting an action research approach has led me to a much deeper understanding of the tacit knowledge that inspires my work. The chief stimulus to my research was the realisation that my explicit practice was in negation of my implicit values. I have come to know my practice and over time changed it. I can now see evidence of a greater congruence between my espoused core educational values and my explicit actions. Cycle one of the research focuses on setting up and introducing Moodle to a group of Biology students. The second cycle shows the feasibility of a community of enquiry through a discussion-forum. A process of social validation runs concurrently, in which interested individuals substantiate my claim that my core educational values are being translated into my practice. Throughout I learn to strike a balance between co-learner and guide. Consequently the students come to act as co-authors in moving away from authoritarian dissemination of facts. This facilitates a community of inquiry, revolving around the collaborative negotiation of meaning. There is clear evidence of increased higher-order cognition and motivation to learn among the participants within this virtual community.
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