Browsing Digital Library of Information Science & Technology (DLIST) by Journal
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Designing a better learning environment with the Web - problems and prospectsThis item is not the definitive copy. Please use the following citation when referencing this material: Dillon, A. (2000) Designing a better learning environment with the Web: problems and prospects. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 3(1), 97-102. Abstract: In a recent review of the empirical findings on hypermedia and learning outcomes, Dillon and Gabbard (1998) concluded that contrary to many people's assumptions, the use of hypermedia-based instructional systems in education had not produced significant learning gains. Indeed, their review concluded that such instructional technologies rarely showed any benefit for learners over existing paper- or lecture-based instructions. While it is commonplace these days to dismiss as irrelevant any media comparison study, the Dillon and Gabbard review went further, also examining comparisons made between alternative hypermedia implementations (a within-media comparison) and between single and group learners employing this technology. Since hypermedia is the underlying technology of the World Wide Web, their findings made depressing reading for those of us who believe that this technology is important and could be put to powerful instructional use. The present issue contains papers from many leading theorists who advocate the use and exploitation of information technologies such as hypermedia and the World-Wide Web in our classrooms, and I am not completely in disagreement with them. However, I wish to question the very assumptions on which the use of the Web and standalone hypermedia applications are based. What I aim to provide in this paper is a sense of the gaps in our knowledge, and to speculate on why education is so poorly served by the wonderful technologies that are within our grasp.