Online facilitated mathematics learning in vocational education: a design-based study

Javed, Syed H. (2008) Online facilitated mathematics learning in vocational education: a design-based study. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


The ubiquitousness of the Internet and communication technologies is having a significant influence on teaching and learning practices both in terms of what is learnt and how it is learnt. Mathematics teaching and learning in vocational education is also facing new challenges due to the enormous influence of new technologies on workplace practices. This study makes an attempt to design and implement a web-based learning environment to facilitate and enhance the teaching and learning of mathematics in a TAFE setting. The design and development of the web-based learning environment aimed at providing opportunities for more engaging and authentic learning activities and promoting the use of new learning technologies in mathematics teaching and learning. The study included a practical orientation of action to bring about a change in the practice of teaching of mathematics in vocational education. Using a design-based research approach the study comprised two cycles. In the first cycle three mathematics teachers were involved in exploring Internet based mathematics resources and participated in the design of a website that consisted of twelve units of basic mathematical topics with facilities for both synchronous and asynchronous communication. This web-based learning environment known as Maths Concurrent Assistance (MCA) Online was then trialled with a number of mathematics teachers and students in mainly workshop mode. In the second cycle, the web-based learning environment was customised for a business mathematics module in a diploma course and trialled with a semester long course taught on campus in a blended learning format. Data obtained through classroom observation, WebCT logs, discussion board postings, test results and nterviews were used to explore and analyse issues concerned with students’ participation, access and use and the role of teacher in facilitating mathematics learning. The study also included a quasi-experimental research design to compare achievement and attitude of students who participated in this experiment with another group of students taught the same content by the same teacher in a traditional face-to-face mode with no Internet activities. Results from the study indicate that students’ successful participation in web-based mathematics learning in vocational education is contingent upon factors including learner readiness, interface design and course design. Students’ attitude towards mathematics appeared to influence their participation in web-based mathematical activities. Although computer skills and confidence are necessary for successful participation in web-based activities, students’ attitude towards mathematics played a more important role in determining their participation.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 330000 Education
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Education
Keywords web-based learning, internet, mathematics, vocational education, TAFE
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