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Systems 2016, 4(1), 14; doi:10.3390/systems4010014

When Easy Becomes Boring and Difficult Becomes Frustrating: Disentangling the Effects of Item Difficulty Level and Person Proficiency on Learning and Motivation

1
Department of Educational Psychology and Methodology, State University of New York, 1400 Washington Ave, Albany, NY 12222, USA
2
Federale Overheidsdienst Financien, 50 Kruidtuinlaan, Brussels 1000, Belgium
3
Faculty of Arts and iMinds-ITEC, KU Leuven 3000, Belgium
4
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences and iMinds-ITEC, KU Leuven 3000, Belgium
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Nguyen-Thinh Le, Jon Mason, Christian Gütl and Kiyoshi Nakabayashi
Received: 24 September 2015 / Revised: 19 February 2016 / Accepted: 22 February 2016 / Published: 3 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptive Educational Technology Systems)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [351 KB, uploaded 3 March 2016]   |  

Abstract

The research on electronic learning environments has evolved towards creating adaptive learning environments. In this study, the focus is on adaptive curriculum sequencing, in particular, the efficacy of an adaptive curriculum sequencing algorithm based on matching the item difficulty level to the learner’s proficiency level. We therefore explored the effect of the relative difficulty level on learning outcome and motivation. Results indicate that, for learning environments consisting of questions focusing on just one dimension and with knowledge of correct response, it does not matter whether we present easy, moderate or difficult items or whether we present the items with a random mix of difficulty levels, regarding both learning and motivation. View Full-Text
Keywords: adaptive item sequencing; item-based learning; computer-assisted learning; difficulty; proficiency adaptive item sequencing; item-based learning; computer-assisted learning; difficulty; proficiency
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Moeyaert, M.; Wauters, K.; Desmet, P.; Van den Noortgate, W. When Easy Becomes Boring and Difficult Becomes Frustrating: Disentangling the Effects of Item Difficulty Level and Person Proficiency on Learning and Motivation. Systems 2016, 4, 14.

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