eJMT Abstract

Title Cognitive workload and mathematics instructional design for non-users of mathematical software applications
Author Liew Kee KOR and Jacqueline Bee-Peng CHUAH
Volume 8
Number 4

This study investigated the cognitive load of learners who are non-users of mathematical software applications, including Maple, when they worked on worksheet with printed Maple commands in the learning of Calculus II. For this purpose, 36 students aged 21-22 years were randomly selected to complete the worksheet and the questionnaire after each lesson for four lab lessons consecutively. A total of 136 worksheets and completed questionnaires were collected and analyzed. The results showed that there were no significant differences in the cognitive workload among learners of different ability levels or between both sexes in general. However, when controlling the ability groups, it was also found that the exam score of the female respondents in the medium ability group correlated negatively with the mental effort load, psychological stress load and competency. It was also found that female respondents in the lower and medium ability groups scored significantly higher in the cognitive workloads compared to their male counterparts. The findings also show that respondents who experienced higher cognitive loads performed better in their lab worksheet and final exam. Analysis of students’ written remarks revealed that respondents were motivated to learn using such worksheet. The worksheet was believed to empower learners who have limited access to and minimal knowledge of mathematical software applications to use Maple in performing integrations. This method of teaching is successful in negotiating technology into the highly exam-oriented teaching and learning environment, hence the mathematics courses.