Using Online Interactive Tutorials In Teaching Psychology and Neuroscience at a Distance
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Science educators often struggle with means to effectively present content in order to optimize student understanding of difficult concepts. This holds true for typical classroom-based instruction, but especially so when it involves online instruction. Although students generally have access to quality course materials and teaching support, it can still be difficult for learners to understand essential concepts. A wide body of research has identified the value of visualization, graphics, and digital animations in learning. It has been demonstrated that the use of well-designed visual tools can help learners digest large amounts of information in relatively brief time periods, and learners can construct a personal visualization of a specific process or concept. The use of online interactive tutorials has potential to encourage more active learning and increase learner motivation, acting to ultimately enhance student learning outcomes. In an attempt to add to student comprehension of essential neurological structures and processes within a biological psychology course, we have developed a small collection of behavioural neuroscience tutorials. Preliminary data indicate that these tutorials are valued by students and are effective in helping students learn fundamental concepts and processes in the area of psychology and neuroscience. This work is relevant to the framework of the importance of technology and instructional design in distance education and online learning, with applications not only to postsecondary instruction, but to all levels of education. Demonstrations will be provided. Supported by: Mission Critical Research Grant, Athabasca University.