Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia vol:21 issue:2 pages:187-209
Providing learners with control over their learning does not always result in improved learning. For instance, research on tool-use in computer-based learning environments has demonstrated that tool-use behavior of learners is often suboptimal and does not fully support learning. Advice, or guided instruction, has been recognized as an instructional method with major benefits for learning. This study highlights the role of learner control over tool use and advice on tool use in promoting learning, enhancing motivation and perceived functionality of tools. In a computer-based learning environment providing the basics of Spanish introductory conversations, learners were assigned to one of three conditions: (1) no control over tool use and only one tool per task; (2) learner control over tool selection; and (3) learner control over tool selection with advice on the most appropriate tool for solving the task. Learners’ prior motivation, self-regulation skills and prior knowledge were taken into account. Results indicate that learners did not differ among the three conditions for post-experimental motivation, learning gains and perceived tool functionality. The results are related to the reasons that learners reported for using tools, the perceptions and goal orientations of learners.