ITLS Researchers to Receive the Outstanding Journal Article Award from The Association for Educational Communications & Technology

Dr. Brian Belland, Dr. Andrew Walker, Dr. Nam Ju Kim, and Mason Lefler authored research which will receive the Outstanding Journal Article Award sponsored by the Research and Theory Division of The Association for Educational Communications & Technology. The award will be received in Jacksonville, Florida in November of this year.

"It is a very selective process," explained Dr. E-Ling Hsiao, the award committee chair. "We received 21 submissions this year."

This award came after years of hard work on the research. Dr. Belland explains it took about two years to finish the work. The 36-page article was published in the Review of Educational Research last year. That publication has a top five impact factor in education, which is measured by the number of times articles are cited from the journal (Review of Educational Research, 2017).

The research was a meta-analysis of all the available and qualifying computer-based scaffolding research on STEM Education (science, technology, engineering, and math). They analyzed over 144 different experimental studies and looked at the overall effectiveness of intelligent tutoring systems and other similar programs.

"Scaffolding," Dr. Belland explains, "can be defined as support that helps students generate solutions to complex problems, and gain skill at doing so." Computer-based scaffolding is the support students receive from a computer while working on these complex tasks.

Belland, Walker, Kim and Lefler discovered computer-based scaffolding has a positive effect on cognitive outcomes. This is consistent across all age levels, including everyone from elementary school students to adults.
high school students on computers

Interestingly enough, the research also indicates that fading the scaffolding away (or slowly adding it in) does not have a significant effect on the learning outcomes. As the authors point out, "There has been consensus among researchers that fading is a necessary component of scaffolding ... One argument is that not-fading can lead to overscripting, defined as providing scaffolding when it is in fact unneeded" (Belland, et al, 2016, 331). However, their research shows no evidence to support this consensus.

The research is publicly available at no cost because the grant budget included paying the fees to make the finding available to everyone. You can read the study here.

Dr. Brian Belland's research on computer-based scaffolding emerged while he was a PhD student at Purdue University. Dr. Andrew Walker received his PhD from Utah State and focuses on problem-based learning and meta-analysis. Dr. Kim is a recent PhD graduate from Utah State and recently moved to Florida to a tenure-track position at the University of Miami.  Dr. Kim used some unique statistical techniques to analyze the sample studies in this research. Mason Lefler is a current PhD student at Utah State in the ITLS Department.

Dr. Brian Belland
Dr. Brian Belland

Dr. Brian Belland
Dr. Andrew Walker


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