Enhancing Students' Reasoning by Utilizing a Virtual Learning Environment

By Aharon Yadin.

Published by The International Journal of Technologies in Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 11, 2014 $US5.00

This paper describes a specific course structure that was designed to increase students' reasoning related to decision making under uncertainty. The course is based on a virtual and collaborative learning environment in which the students learn, assess and analyze different approaches for solving a given problem. For that reason the course employs a visual learning environment that resembles a playing ground in which the students can "play" by controlling and monitoring the activities of a virtual robot. These playful actions help students build and enhance their analytic and problem solving skills. Addressing all available factors relevant for the decision making process is achieved by using simple "programming like" instructions that enforce accuracy and paying attention to details. In addition good learning habits are acquired by using personal and individual assignments in which each student gets a different task to perform. Furthermore, the students are also engaged in evaluating their peers' solutions which enhances their understanding by exploring other and different approaches to solve the same problem. The results obtained in this qualitative research, are based on comparing the students' grades when using the two course structures. The second course structure enhanced the students' understanding especially regarding the more abstract and unstructured issues of problem solving.

Keywords: Visual Environments, Collaborative Learning, Personalized Assignments, Peer Assessment

International Journal of Technologies in Learning, Volume 20, Issue 1, March 2014, pp.47-56. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 11, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 472.619KB)).

Dr. Aharon Yadin

Senior Lecturer, Management Information Systems Department, The Max Stern Yezreel Valley College (YVC), Yezreel Valley, Israel

Aharon Yadin is a senior lecturer at the Max Stern Yezreel Valley College (YVC), Management Information Systems Department. Aharon's primary teaching areas are computer architectures, introduction to computer science and business/management information systems. Prior to entering the academic world, Aharon worked in the High Tech industry. He has over thirty years of IT experience including: management, system performance analysis and enhancement, computer center and IS management, wireless networks and communication technologies and document management. Aharon has published over one hundred papers, assays, scientific and technological reports (many in Hebrew), he is the author of nine instructional books and consults the European Commission on software related projects and technologies.