Can structured representation enhance students' thinking skills for better understanding of E-learning content?

Hosam Al-Samarraie, Timothy Teo, Merza Abbas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


This paper proposes an e-learning model to assess the effects of online structured representation of content on learners' understanding. We designed a structured representation based on the theory of distributed cognition that provides seven segments for reading research articles. The study hypothesized that motivation, attention, and interactivity are essential factors that affect students' thinking skills for understanding e-learning content. To investigate and confirm the effect of these factors on the students' thinking skills, we designed a survey and analyzed the responses of 210 university students concerning the proposed structured representation. The results revealed that motivation, attention, and interactivity did contribute to the students' thinking skills. They also demonstrated that the structured representation helped students achieve an adequate level of thinking skills as they read research articles, which had a positive effect on their understanding. This finding demonstrates that structured representation has significant potential as a learning tool and that structure-based e-learning can influence students' metacognitive activities and facilitate their understanding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-473
Number of pages11
JournalComputers & Education
Early online date9 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • Distance education
  • Interactive learning environments
  • Pedagogical issues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Education

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