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Memorization or Concept Learning in On-Line Homework


John H. Penn and John Valeri
Department of Chemistry, West Virginia University
Morgantown, WV 26506-6045

11/03/01 to 11/09/01

On-line homework has been distributed to students using the WE_LEARN system. The system allows for the construction of practice tests that allow the students an opportunity to create drill exercises for themselves, receive automatic feedback and grading, and tutorial information. Standard in-class examinations were constructed specifically to test whether the students learned the concepts that were tested in the databank of questions or whether they simply memorized the questions and answers. Data accumulated over four years of development show that college level students can memorize a surprising number of questions and that this seems to be a preferred method of study. These data will be presented, along with results about the number of questions required to force students into the "concept learning" mode.