Scenario-based eLearning and STEM education: A qualitative study exploring the perspectives of educators

Concurrent Session 5

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

This session presents effective instructional practices by sharing the results of a qualitative study on the efficacy of a scenario-based eLearning to improve interest in STEM-related professions of elementary students. Information aims to assist educators in using instructional design approach practices to improve interest toward STEM-related professions. 

Presenters

Dr. David Proudfoot is a career educator, he has a rich history of teaching, educational programming and administration. His personal and professional interests flow around studying innovative ways to improve the quality of teaching and learning in K-12, higher education, and corporate settings in online and face-to-face formats. The focus of his research has centered upon student-centered learning and instructional design. Dr. Proudfoot has been a faculty member of School of Advanced Studies at University of Phoenix for years and has supervised more than 18 doctoral students to complete their doctoral dissertations. He has taught research methods, leadership, and foundational doctorate courses with diverse student populations from across the globe. Dr. Proudfoot is a Research Fellow for the Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research. He earned his B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Central Florida, M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, and his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

Extended Abstract

Purpose

The problem is the lack of interest in STEM-related careers. There are recent calls for action to augment the STEM workforce in a technology-driven society, and create initiatives that develop STEM literacy in science and boost individuals’ interest towards STEM-related professions (Sahin, 2013). A Florida school district has implemented a STEM program to engage students in STEM education. The program is designed to provide positive STEM learning experiences for students to promote a greater interest in STEM-related careers. The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the effect of a scenario-based e-learning STEM program to improve interest in STEM-related professions. A content analysis of teacher interviews using a combination of a priori and post hoc coding was used to explore teacher perceptions about student interests in STEM and interest in STEM-related careers after the implementation of a scenario-based e-learning STEM Mobile Lab program which was aligned with our interview protocol. The findings determined the efficacy of scenario-based eLearning to improve student interest in STEM-related professions. The results will advance initiatives to improve interest toward STEM-related professions of elementary students.

Rationale

STEM education has become an important topic for researchers because of its role in jobs of the 21st century. The rankings of American youth in science, engineering, and math have dropped significantly since the 1970s (National Science Board 2003; Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2006; Sahin, 2013). American youth no longer believe the United States leads the way in invention (Lemelson-MIT Invention Index, 2011). In order for the United States of America to continue being an economic powerhouse in a global economy, it is important that researchers seek to identify way to increase the number of students who pursue STEM-related majors that develop skills and knowledge to prepare them for STEM-related professions. 

The problem is the lack of student interest in STEM-related professions. There is a need to augment the STEM workforce in a technology-driven society. Scenario-based eLearning provides educators with the opportunity to create STEM lessons that are engaging and provide learners with the resources to enhance their performance and overall knowledge. The hope was that as students participated in engaging and positive STEM experiences over time, they would become interested in STEM-related careers. The following research question guided the study: 

Research Question 1: What are teachers’ perspectives regarding the influence of a scenario based eLearning STEM Mobile Lab program on STEM interest for fifth grade students?

Method

The population for this study included 18 Title I elementary schools who received the STEM Mobile lab program as part of their regular STEM curriculum. The sample drawn from the total population consisted of 5-6 teachers who taught fifth grade science in a Title I elementary school in the school district and participated with their class in the STEM Mobile lab program during the 2015-2016 school year. Qualitative data gathered from teacher interviews was used to explore the perspective of teachers on the effects of a scenario based eLearning STEM Mobile Lab program on the interest of their students in STEM and the student’s interest in pursuing STEM related careers after the implementation of the STEM Mobile Lab session. A content analysis of teacher interviews using a combination of a priori and post hoc coding was used to explore teacher perceptions about student interests in STEM and interest in STEM-related careers after the implementation of a scenario-based e-learning STEM Mobile Lab program which was aligned with our interview protocol.

Results and discussion

The results indicated higher interest toward STEM related profession after the implementation of the STEM Mobile Lab session. Scenario-based eLearning STEM program has been effective in improving students’ STEM interests. This promising finding leads educators to use this and similar programs to make students more interested in science which may lead to  This presentation will delineate the results of the study and provide better vision about the programs that can be used to improve students’ STEM interest and increase the number of students who pursue STEM-related majors that develop skills and knowledge to prepare them for STEM-related professions.