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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Blending multimedia and campus-based learning to enhance learning about forest floor and humus forms Hoffman, Darrell R.


Given the functions of forest organic soil horizons in carbon sequestration, biodiversity and nutrient cycling, coupled with the fact that the forest floor is often not described in soil surveys, it is important that forestry professionals learn to classify organic horizons and humus forms. The current generation of undergraduate students appreciate having access to multimedia and online resources in their learning, and prefer active, collaborative experiences of the concepts they are learning in the classroom. With technological advances, modernizing curriculum by blending campus-based learning and multimedia is ever easier to accomplish. The objectives of this study were to: (1) develop blended-learning activities, combining campus based learning and multimedia web-based resources, to teach forest floor description and classification; and (2) conduct exploratory factor analysis of student survey responses to assess student opinions about the application of the blended-learning method. The Forest Floor web-based educational resource and campus-based activities were developed with the contributions of a team of experts in soil science, web and multimedia design, and science education. Ninety-four percent of students agreed or strongly agreed that the Forest Floor web-based resource was helpful for learning forest floor concepts, 79% that describing samples in class was essential for understanding the properties of organic horizons, and 81% that they were able to relate information in the Forest Floor web-based resource to their own samples used in an in-class activity indicating that students appreciated the blended learning methodology. Based on the survey responses five implicit factors were interpreted: (1) satisfaction with the web-based educational resources as learning enhancements; (2) success of presentation of concepts using a blended learning method; (3) student self-assessment of learning; (4) student learning preferences in accessing materials; and (5) website usability. Student feedback suggests that the blended learning activities were appreciated and met the learning objectives. This study also provides an example for conducting exploratory factor analysis of blended learning interventions and provides factors that may be verified through confirmatory factor analysis.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada