The aim of the research was to investigate how South Africa Further Education and Training learners acquire, recall, process and present information in a digitally enabled environment. To determine how a changing society and technology have influenced the way learners interact with information in an educational environment, recent changes in society and their influences on young people were examined as well as the traits of the generations with respect to character, family life, the future, peers and technology. This revealed that learners today need · material in visual format; · to find or create their own learning content; · fast access to learning material; and · learning material with long-term career value. It was also apparent that they are motivated by technology used in information transfer, are active learners and regard learning as a social activity. The methodology of case study action research was used. Note was taken of measures to ensure reliability and validity and applied to this research to ensure that the findings are valid and reliable as well as generalisable in South Africa beyond the confines of Pinelands High School (PHS). Two case studies observing the learners at PHS were undertaken:- creating web sites for the ThinkQuest web design competition and a building a web-based CV. The learners were heterogeneous and displayed a range of skills, ages, academic abilities and prior experiences. Many different management formats were employed, such as learning at a distance, in a contact environment, with examples and specific or open-ended instructions as well as different forms of motivation, time for the work in hand, etc. The major findings of the research were the influence of peers and importance of external motivation in the form of grades on the learners’ cognitive, affective and physical learning activities in the computer laboratory. Secondary findings indicated the importance of content, examples, instructions, time, mental state, classroom ecology, contact environment and software in the way learners acquired, recalled, processed and presented information. The research concluded with a set of actions that should be taken to ensure successful interaction with information in a digitally enabled environment.
Dissertation (PhD (Computer Assisted Education))--University of Pretoria, 2004.