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Effects of Faded Scaffolding in Computer-Based Instruction on Learners' Performance, Cognitive Load, and Test Anxiety

Title: Effects of Faded Scaffolding in Computer-Based Instruction on Learners' Performance, Cognitive Load, and Test Anxiety.
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Name(s): Hao, Shuang, author
Dennen, Vanessa P., professor directing dissertation
Adams, Jonathan L., university representative
Ke, Fengfeng, committee member
Klein, James D., committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Education, degree granting college
Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2016
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (200 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Scaffolding is a type of instructional support that helps students to complete a learning task that exceeds their current ability. Scaffolding plays an important role in augmenting other instructional approaches, such as problem-based learning, and facilitates gradual shifts of responsibility from the more advanced others to the learner (Belland, et al., 2015). The process through which the scaffolding support shifts and eventually is removed is called fading. How to properly fade the scaffolds in order to better prepare students for a real world application task has not been extensively examined, especially with regard to computer-based instruction (CBI), when there is minimal or no instructor assistance. This study examined the effects of different fading approaches in CBI on students' post-test performance, cognitive load, and test anxiety. The study population was pre-service teachers who practiced constructing concept maps based on real instructional scenarios. Two different fading approaches were compared: gradual fading of scaffolds and sudden fading of scaffolds before an application task. The gradual fading condition presented the students with the fully scaffolded instruction during the first class session, less scaffolded instruction during the second class session, and no scaffold in their instruction during the third class session. Students took a post-test with no scaffold during their fourth class session. The sudden fading condition presented the students with fully scaffolded instruction for class sessions one to three, and removed the scaffolds entirely during their post-test class session four. It was hypothesized that students who received gradual fading would receive higher post-test scores, and report lower cognitive load and test anxiety levels during the post-test compared to students who received sudden fading. One hundred and four students enrolled in six sections of an undergraduate technology course agreed to participate in this study. Class sections were randomly assigned to either the gradual fading or the sudden fading condition. Data from 58 participants, who attended all four class sessions and experienced the entire fading progress, were used in the statistical analysis. Students of both conditions received the same direct instruction and pre-survey before the intervention, and repeated cognitive load surveys and test anxiety surveys during the four class sessions. Students' post-test scores were recorded to reflect their performance. No significant differences were found between the gradual and the sudden fading conditions in students' post-test performance, cognitive load levels, and test anxiety levels in each of the four different class sessions. Additional analyses yielded three findings. First, students in both conditions reported relatively high cognitive load and test anxiety from their learning experiences. Second, students who received sudden fading reported a significantly lower cognitive load in class session two compared to that in class session one. Third, students who received sudden fading reported significantly lower test anxiety during the post-test compared to their previous practice session. The results of the study suggest that students who received gradual fading did not outperform students who received sudden fading. Fixed scaffolds, in general, do not support individualized learning and ill-structured problem-solving in CBI. In practice, if fixed scaffolds must be used, sudden fading may be superior to gradual fading condition in supporting students' access of learning support in complex problem-solving, and in alleviating their test anxiety through fully scaffolded practices. These results contribute to the understanding and improvement of scaffolding design in CBI.
Identifier: FSU_2016SP_Hao_fsu_0071E_12940 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems in partial fulfillment of the Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester 2016.
Date of Defense: April 05, 2016.
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Vanessa Dennen, Professor Directing Dissertation; Jonathan Adams, University Representative; Fengfeng Ke, Committee Member; James Klein, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Education
Educational technology
Educational evaluation
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_2016SP_Hao_fsu_0071E_12940
Owner Institution: FSU

Choose the citation style.
Hao, S. (2016). Effects of Faded Scaffolding in Computer-Based Instruction on Learners' Performance, Cognitive Load, and Test Anxiety. Retrieved from http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_2016SP_Hao_fsu_0071E_12940