Learning with Multimedia Cases: An Evaluation Study.
This article is about the relation between case-based learning and transfer in teacher education. Through a design research approach a multimedia case has been developed. The topic of the case is “outdoor activities in science education.”
The core of the case is a 17 minute video that is supplemented by all kinds of background information. Results indicate that preservice teachers with the guidance of open assignments retrieve substantial information from the case.
We also found that preservice teachers were motivated to transfer their learning into teaching practice. This transfer effect, however, is best characterized as near transfer, because the actual outdoor activities stayed close to that portrayed in the video of the multimedia case. A few students were able to go beyond the information given in the case.
This far transfer only occurred if prompted by the context specific features of the student teaching situation. ********** Teacher education programs are frequently charged with being irrelevant, overly theoretical, and out of touch with the realities of teaching “on the front lines.”
Case-based learning is perceived as a means to overcome this divide between theory and practice (Pedretti, Bencze, & Hewitt, 2000). When combined with computer technology, the educational potential of case-based learning may even be enhanced (Cennamo, Abell, George, & Chung, 1996). In this study, we try to gain further empirical insight into the application of multimedia cases in a teacher education program.
This article presents an evaluation study of a case-based interactive system, delivered through cd-rom (multimedia case) for use in preservice teacher education. This case on cd-rom has been evaluated by: (a) investigating teacher candidates’ perceptions of the case; (b) examining the results from learning with a multimedia case; and (c) exploring the degree to which the case led to a transfer of knowledge and skills to classroom practice.
The multimedia case has been developed within the framework of the MUltimedia in Science & Technology (MUST)-project. The MUST-project is a joint venture on behalf of three teacher education colleges, the National Institute for Curriculum Development and the University of Twente in the Netherlands.
The project aims at developing and investigating multimedia cases and support tools for the professional development of prospective teachers in elementary science and technology education. Since the start of the project in 1998, the MUST-team has developed three multimedia cases, an interactive search system for curriculum materials, and a web site to support teacher educators in the use of MUST-products.
The focus of attention in this article is on one of the three multimedia cases. The next section places the study in its Dutch educational context. Subsequently, information is presented about cases and case-based learning in general. Specifics about the multimedia case under study are described next, followed by sections about method, results, and conclusions. BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY In the Netherlands, elementary school teachers receive their initial tertiary schooling at teacher education colleges. Immediately after high school, students can apply for admission to the teacher education program.
In this four-year course of study, prospective teachers are prepared to teach all subjects for all grade levels in elementary schools. Student teaching is incorporated into the program beginning in the first year.
Dutch elementary teacher education is in the midst of a rather large-scale reform. An important part of this reform includes the stimulation of self-directed learning and the integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the classroom.
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