Year

2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

University of Wollongong. Faculty of Education

Abstract

This study investigates how pre-service teachers can use self-regulated learning strategies to develop fluency with information technology. There has been a wealth of research on issues associated with pre-service teachers’ and teachers’ development of computer literacy. Similarly, extensive research has been undertaken of learners’ development of self-regulated learning (SRL) strategies within higher education and technological learning environments. There is little research, however, on the ways in which pre-service teachers may use self regulated learning to develop fluency with information technology (FITness). This study addresses this gap by investigating learners’ experience of using self regulated learning strategies to become “fluent” with information technology.

This study used a qualitative, case-study research design to investigate pre-service teachers’ development of FITness within a self-regulated learning environment. This environment was situated in a teacher education bachelor degree subject concerned with learning about the use of information technology in teaching. Pintrich’s (2000) framework of self-regulated learning was used to guide the design of the educational intervention.

The study was guided by three research questions:

1. What aspects of FITness can learners develop in a self-regulated learning environment?

2. What self-regulated learning strategies can learners use when learning to become fluent with information technology?

3. What other factors may influence learners’ becoming fluent with information technology through self-regulated learning?

The educational intervention included learning tasks and resources that were designed to provide opportunities for students to develop self-regulated learning strategies to assist their planning, cognition and monitoring of their learning. It was anticipated that these strategies may enable learners to develop the skills with contemporary software, the ability to solve problems commonly encountered in the use of IT, and a future-orientation to professional development with IT. These are aspects of FITness required of teachers in a technologically dependent world.

Interviews with study participants, together with their assignments, provided rich sources of data for this investigative study. A priori data analysis codes were developed from the research questions and relevant literature. However, theiterative data analysis process enabled other relevant themes or issues emerging from the data to be identified and integrated within the coding framework. This framework enabled meaningful interpretation of participants’ experience.

This study’s findings suggest that learners were able to develop the aspect of FITness concerned with being able to use contemporary software. However, learners tended to set lower order learning goals and consequently used lower order cognitive self-regulated learning strategies. These types of goals and strategies compromised participants’ ability to conceptualise how technology worked, and their ability to solve common technological problems. Learners’ confidence inusing IT increased. However, they expressed a limited commitment to ongoing professional development with IT through a reliance on familiar people and resources. The study revealed some of the limitations of using self-regulated learning to enhance learners’ higher order thinking and independence in learning.These findings have implications for the design of programs that seek to develop learners’ FITness through self-regulated learning.

This study contributes to the knowledge base about the experience of Australian first year pre-service teachers’ use of self-regulated learning as an instructional method to develop the FITness. Investigating the application of this study’s findings to other student populations could enhance our understanding of instructional processes to enhance the development of independent, lifelong learners and users of IT.

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