Relating Neural Mechanisms for Learning to Instructional Techniques in Online Learning Environments

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Joshi, Jenna Gerdes
Holder, Mary
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The virtual learning experience is fundamentally different from the traditional classroom because of the challenges of maintaining learners’ attention amid distractions in their environment. This study aims to study how the established Nine Events of Instruction can be most effective at maintaining engagement in learners in the online classroom. To test this, participants watched a 1-hour course on Human-Computer Interaction while in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner, rated how engaged they felt with the course, and were tested on the information they learned later. The participants then came back for a second session where they watched the same course and used a slider mouse scale to rate their engagement with the videos. Β-values were regressed from the fMRI data after being processed and analyzed extensively. Results revealed that brain activation in the lateral occipito-temporal cortex and ventral attention network occurred during times that participants reported increasing engagement. These regions of brain activation, among others, were also applied to which of the Events of Instruction were being employed by the instructor at that time. This experiment will link successful learning and cognitive engagement to the Nine Events of Instruction and will be applied to improve the virtual classroom experience in the near future.
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Undergraduate Thesis
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