Computers & Education

6Computers & Education aims to increase knowledge and understanding of ways in which digital technology can enhance education, through the publication of high quality research, which extends theory and practice.
The Editors welcome research papers on the pedagogical uses of digital technology, where the focus is broad enough to be of interest to a wider education community.
We do not publish small-scale evaluations of specific software/systems in specialist domains or particular courses in individual institutions (unless the findings have broader relevance that is explicitly drawn out in the paper). Papers that include discussions of the implementation of software and/or hardware should focus on the context of use, the user/system interface, usability issues and evaluations of the user experience and impacts on and implications for learning and teaching. Detailed information on implementation architecture should NOT be included in the paper, but may be provided via hot-links. We welcome review papers that include clear aims (research questions), a framework of analysis, and conclusions that reflect the aims of the paper.
Selection criteria
Papers must:
• align with the aims of the journal
• be within the scope of the journal
• include an appropriate, current and comprehensive literature review
• have a sound research methodology (see additional notes on methodology below)
• evidence a high level of critical analysis
• explicitly indicate how they advance the field
• comply with the author guidelines
• not have been submitted/published elsewhere
• not already have been rejected (without the option to resubmit) by CAE
Guidance on methodology
CAE welcomes both qualitative and quantitative research of the highest quality. High quality research is internally consistent, theoretically informed, evidence based, rigorous and transparent, and ethically informed.
The Editors have published an editorial providing additional guidance on reporting quantitative studies and will provide further guidance on the reporting of qualitative studies in upcoming issues: Some Recommendations for the Reporting of Quantitative Studies
Benefits to authors
We also provide many author benefits, such as free PDFs, a liberal copyright policy, special discounts on Elsevier publications and much more. Please click here for more information on our author services.
Please see our Guide for Authors for information on article submission.

An empirical examination of e-learning design: The role of trainee socialization and complexity in short term training


Pre-training face-to-face socialization improved e-learning performance.

Pre-training online socialization did not improve e-learning performance.

Those who received simpler training outperformed those who received complex training.
Using data from 143 individuals, this study examined how pre-training socialization and task complexity affected learning in an online environment. A controlled laboratory experiment, using a 3 (socialization) × 2 (complexity) between subjects design was conducted. Participants were assigned to either more or less complex training and received either face-to-face, online, or no socialization before beginning the training. Results indicated that those who received face-to-face socialization performed better than those who received either online socialization or no socialization. There was no learning difference between the online and no socialization condition. Those who received simpler training performed better than those who received more complex training. Socialization and complexity were not interactively related. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Training; Organizational learning; Course design; E-learning; Distance learning

The effects of prior computer use on computer-based writing: The 2011 NAEP writing assessment


Prior use of computers for writing predicted achievement on the 2011 NAEP writing assessment.

Prior use led to between 0.14 and 0.16 standard deviation increase in writing achievement scores.

Student and teacher reported use of computers for school writing were predictive of writing scores.

Personal use of computers was not correlated with improved NAEP scores.

Professional development and use of technology for instruction did not predict achievement.
Writing achievement levels are chronically low for K-12 students. As assessments follow the transition to computer-based writing, differences in technology access may exacerbate students’ difficulties. Indeed, the writing process is shaped by the tools we use and computer-based writing is different from writing with pen and paper. We examine the relationship between reported prior use of computers and students’ achievement on the first national computer-based writing assessment in the United States, the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) assessment. Using data from over 24,100 eighth grade students, we found that prior use of computers for school-related writing had a direct effect on writing achievement scores on the computer-based NAEP assessment. One standard deviation increase in prior use led to a 0.14 and 0.16 standard deviation increase in mean and scaled writing achievement scores respectively, with demographic controls and jackknife weighting in our SEM analysis. We also looked at earlier NAEP assessments and found that prior computer use did not positively affect the earlier pen and paper-based writing assessments.

Computer-mediated communication; Secondary education; Improving classroom teaching; Pedagogical issues; Teaching/learning strategies

Investigating the effectiveness of speech-to-text recognition applications on learning performance and cognitive load


Students who use STR-texts outperform those who do not.

Lectures in English cause lower cognitive load for students when they use STR-texts.

STR-texts are useful for students’ learning.

STR-texts are beneficial for low EFL ability students’ learning.
This study explores the effectiveness of applying speech-to-text recognition (STR) technology during lectures in English on learning performance and the cognitive load of non-native English speaking students. Furthermore, the study also explores the usefulness of texts generated using STR for students with different levels of English as foreign language (EFL) ability during lectures of varying difficulty levels. Two lectures, one with intermediate difficulty level content and the other advanced, were administered, and STR was adopted to aid student learning. The results of this study show that the students who used STR-generated texts outperformed the students who did not. Furthermore, lectures in English caused less cognitive load for low ability EFL students when they used STR-texts. According to the students, the STR-texts were useful for following the instructor, confirming content, clarifying vocabulary, and making up missed information. It was found that STR-texts were used by low EFL ability students during both lectures whereas high EFL ability students used STR-texts during the lecture at the advanced level and only some of high EFL ability students used them during the intermediate lecture. Based on these results, several suggestions and implications for teaching and research community are proposed.

Improving classroom teaching; Pedagogical issues; Post-secondary education

Multi-dimensional alignment between online instruction and course technology: A learner-centered perspective


This study examines the alignment between online instruction and course technology.

Instruction-technology fit is a formative construct comprising multiple dimensions.

Student satisfaction depends on online instruction, course technology and their fit.
Compared with face-to-face instruction, online instruction in distance and hybrid education relies on the extensive use of course technology. Course technology supports multiple aspects of online instruction including objective specification, material organization, engagement facilitation, and outcome assessment. This study looks into different dimensions underlying the alignment between online instruction and course technology, and investigates the direct and indirect effects of involved constructs on student satisfaction as the outcome variable. The empirical evidence from a survey supports most research hypotheses, and suggests that instruction-technology fit is a partial mediator for online instruction and a full mediator for course technology in terms of their relationships with student satisfaction. Whereas all alignment dimensions but assessment fit are significant, engagement fit calls for closer attention than objective fit and material fit. That is, course technology has great potentials as well as a big space for improvement to facilitate the student engagement aspect of online instruction. From a learner-centered perspective, the findings offer researchers and practitioners helpful insights on how to utilize all kinds of e-learning tools for student success.

Distance learning; Course technology; Online instruction; Instruction-technology fit; Student satisfaction

Student rules: Exploring patterns of students’ computer-efficacy and engagement with digital technologies in learning


A better understanding of student experiences in technologically integrated learning is needed.

Use of data mining techniques to uncover unique patterns among factors of technology integration.

Results show different patterns among students’ confidence and engagement in technology use.

More complex patterns were observed in students with negative engagement in technology use.

Results raise questions regarding how digital technologies are integrated in learning design.
Teachers’ beliefs about students’ engagement in and knowledge of digital technologies will affect technologically integrated learning designs. Over the past few decades, teachers have tended to feel that students were confident and engaged users of digital technologies, but there is a growing body of research challenging this assumption. Given this disparity, it is necessary to examine students’ confidence and engagement using digital technologies to understand how differences may affect experiences in technologically integrated learning. However, the complexity of teaching and learning can make it difficult to isolate and study multiple factors and their effects. This paper proposes the use of data mining techniques to examine unique patterns among key factors of students’ technology use and experiences related to learning, as a way to inform teachers’ practice and learning design. To do this, association rules mining and fuzzy representations are used to analyze a large student questionnaire dataset (N = 8817). Results reveal substantially different patterns among school engagement and computer-efficacy factors between students with positive and negative engagement with digital technologies. Findings suggest implications for learning design and how teachers may attend to different experiences in technologically integrated learning and future research in this area.

Understanding cloud-based VLE from the SDT and CET perspectives: Development and validation of a measurement instrument


Most of the current literature has focused on undergraduates’ VLE acceptance.

We studied the instructional effectiveness of the cloud-based Frog VLE.

The roles of Self Determination Theory and Channel Expansion Theory were examined.

575 respondents were randomly selected across the nation in two waves of survey.

Rigorous validation via SEM, expert panels, Q-sort, pre & pilot-test & fieldwork.
With the emergence of the cloud computing technology, virtual learning environment (VLE) may play an imperative role in promoting instructional effectiveness of ubiquitous learning. However, the existing literature on VLE has been mostly based on the acceptance of VLE from the perspective of the undergraduate students. There is a dearth in studies on the VLE instructional effectiveness from the K-12 teachers’ perspective, the effects of Self Determination Theory and Channel Expansion Theory. Existing VLE instruments have not been rigorously validated and do not consider the importance of cultural differences. This research aims at creating and rigorously validating an instrument to study the cloud-based Frog VLE’s instructional effectiveness in the Malaysian cultural setting. The robustness of the instrument was validated using structural equation modeling, expert panel, Q-sort, pre-test, pilot-test and fieldwork study. This research may offer a parsimonious instrument to evaluate the instructional effectiveness of the Frog VLE for subsequent studies contributing to theory building in the IS literature.

Interactive learning environments; Multimedia/hypermedia systems; Distributed learning environments; Improving classroom teaching

Predicting adult learners’ online participation: Effects of altruism, performance expectancy, and social capital


Adult learners’ online participation was captured by three different dimensions.

Lower degree holders, females, and working learners were found to be more active online.

The unique predictive values of altruism, performance, and social capital were examined.

Perceived learning benefits were the most significant predictor of online participation.

Norms of reciprocity and sense of belonging enhanced online participation, but not trust.
Learners’ socio-demographic characteristics, personal traits, and performance expectancy are frequently employed to interpret online participation among members in virtual, higher education, and professional settings, but not in adult education contexts. Furthermore, the social capital framework has scarcely been used to explain online participation in educational settings, despite its prevalence in virtual contexts. The present study aims to uncover the unique predictive value of altruism, perceived learning benefits as a measure of performance expectancy, and social capital with regard to adult learners’ online participation in addition to socio-demographic variables. A questionnaire was administered and completed by 181 adult learners following a blended learning program in Flanders (Belgium). Hierarchical multiple regressions revealed that working learners, lower degree holders, and females are the keenest participants in online participation. We also found that performance expectancy outweighed altruism in explaining online participation. Only two dimensions of social capital, namely sense of belonging and norms of reciprocity, significantly predicted online participation. Based on these findings, pedagogical and research implications are discussed.

Performance expectancy; Social capital; Online participation; Adult education

Discovering the laws of physics with a serious game in kindergarten


Scientific thinking strategies can be assessed using a serious game.

Kindergartner’s gaming behavior can be subdivided in exploration and efficiency.

Vocabulary mediated between game exploration and attentional control.

Nonverbal reasoning mediated between game efficiency and attentional control.

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Teachers’ professional reasoning about their pedagogical use of technology


Teachers (n = 157) demonstrate technology use and discuss their reasoning.

Reasons address attractiveness, learning goals and learning processes.

The majority of teachers use technology to support knowledge transfer.

Teachers demonstrate integration of technology, pedagogy and content.

About half of the teachers show alignment between their reasoning and practice.
This study focused on teachers’ reasoning about the use of technology in practice. Both teachers’ professional reasoning and their technology use were investigated. Through video cases, 157 teachers demonstrated their technology use in practice and commented on the reasoning behind their actions. Results show that most technology use was intended to strengthen both pedagogy and subject matter, or else pedagogy alone. Reasons addressed making learning attractive for students, realizing educational goals and facilitating the learning process. The majority of teachers’ technology use in practice shows aspects of the knowledge transfer model of teaching. Most technology tools were used to support a learning activity; the use of technology was essential in only a few video cases. About half of the video cases showed alignment between reasoning and practice. The results contribute to better understanding of how teachers reason professionally about their technology use.

Elementary education; Secondary education; Pedagogical issues; Teaching/learning strategies; Improving classroom teaching