Navigation Links
Online learning supplements watershed program

MADISON, WI, July 12th, 2010 Are online learning modules beneficial to educational programs? The Arizona Master Watershed Steward program used online learning modules to help increase participant understanding of key watershed concepts. Even though the modules were not required, researchers found that participants both visited the sites on their own time and demonstrated an increase in content knowledge.

Researchers at the University of Arizona, led by Teresa Cummins, conducted an exploratory study on the online modules, designed to supplement hands-on classes taught by local experts and supported by an overview text, to help users increase their understanding of key concepts. They also sought to determine whether program participants would use the non-compulsory modules.

Their evaluation revealed that module users increased their understanding of key watershed concepts; participants in the evaluation demonstrated a 30% increase in content knowledge following module use. Additionally, 70% of participants retained this knowledge through a two-month follow-up test.

A follow-up survey showed that approximately half of the participants returned to the online modules on their own; several of these users returned several times and spent multiple hours per session. Comments from the follow-up survey suggested that the users accessed the site either as they had the time or as they needed the information.

Online usage statistics indicated participants continued to visit the site for many months following the modules' release and advertisement. Though many visits were very brief (a single pageview; only a couple of seconds), visitors with many returns to the site and/or long visits appeared to be working through the modules.

One participant stated, "My brain can only hold so much information; the modules keep information on-hand." Other participants commented that the modules were "more interesting and interactive" than the text material, and a "very effective tool" and "a great resource to the Master Watershed Steward community."

The Arizona Master Watershed Steward program, sponsored by University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, prepares adults to serve as volunteers in the conservation of water resources and the protection, restoration, and monitoring of their watersheds. The modules were intended to reinforce concepts covered in MWS classes and further engage participants in the learning process.

One key finding was that the modules were not clearly preferred by users over in-person instruction. One participant stated, "For me they are just another avenue for learning, a supplement or additional reference. I prefer in person and real hands-on learning." Other participants similarly expressed their desire for hands-on and face-to-face interaction. Several participants noted that that the usefulness of in-person lectures was a function of the presenter.

Overall, the exploratory evaluation indicated that the modules were a welcome supplement to the course and were effective in reinforcing key concepts. Participants retained knowledge for several weeks, although since subjects were self-selected, the may have been self-motivated to pay attention and master the online module materials.

"I am constantly searching for new ways to educate our program's diverse audiences and reinforce watershed science concepts," says Candice Rupprecht, state coordinator for the Master Watershed Steward program and one of the authors of the paper. "I am excited to know that online learning modules can enhance our program by offering additional independent learning opportunities for our volunteers."


Contact: Sara Uttech
American Society of Agronomy

Related biology news :

1. TGen spin-off MedTrust Online enables cancer doctors to quickly obtain best-available information
2. Personalized medicine: Innovative online journal leads the way
3. Latin American Science Initiative Puts Tropical Rainforest Diversity Online
4. Smithsonian puts tropical Eastern-Pacific shore fishes online
5. Smithsonian puts tropical eastern Pacific shore fishes online
6. Powerful online tool for protein analysis provided pro bono by Stanford geneticist
7. New online report on massive jellyfish swarms released
8. JCI online early table of contents: Jan. 19, 2009
9. Online collaboration identifies bacteria
10. Free online toolkit provides standard measures for genome and population studies
11. K-State plant pathologists develop online teaching modules used globally
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Online learning supplements watershed program
(Date:5/12/2016)... 12, 2016 , a brand ... overview results from the Q1 wave of its quarterly ... was consumers, receptivity to a program where they would ... health insurance company. "We were surprised to ... Michael LaColla , CEO of Troubadour Research, "primarily ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... and LONDON , April ... part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of ... today announced a partnership to integrate the Onegini ...      (Logo: ) ... their customers enhanced security to access and transact ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... , April 14, 2016 ... and Malware Detection, today announced the appointment of ... the new role. Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes ... the heels of the deployment of its platform at ... behavioral biometric technology, which discerns unique cognitive and physiological ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica ... in people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a ... , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical , an ... designed to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that ... Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and ... cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is ... inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed ... to serve as their official health care provider. ... will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and ... volunteers, athletes and families. "We are ... and to bring Houston Methodist quality services and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... YORK , June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign ... to envision new ways to harness living systems and ... Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City ... than 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste ... Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture ...
Breaking Biology Technology: