This paper describes an initiative in which a chemistry instructor provided a set of computer-based game-format learning resources called ‘Electronic Study Aids, (ESAs) to students of a university-level freshman general chemistry course. ESAs were provided to students to support their learning and provide them with an alternative means of interacting with course content. ESAs, which were distributed to students via a public Internet site, were generated by the authors using the program StudyMate Author. In addition to describing StudyMate ESAs and outlining our rationale for using them, this paper describes the results of a one-semester study in which feedback was solicited from students regarding: i) how much and when they used the ESAs and ii) their perceptions of the effectiveness of ESAs in promoting learning. Of the students who reported using the ESAs: i) a majority (83.4%) perceived the ESAs to be suited to the way they study, ii) a majority (86.9%) perceived that the ESAs were effective in promoting learning, and iii) a significant fraction (29.7%) downloaded ESAs to handheld small-screen devices such as Apple iPod or iPhone. Our findings and experiences suggest that it is convenient for both students and instructors as well as efficient to distribute ESAs via the Internet. This paper also provides best practice suggestions to instructors considering development of ESAs of this nature for distribution to their own students.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/david_kreller/25/