Outdoor ubiquitous learning or indoor CAL? Achievement and different cognitive loads of college students

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The purpose of the present study was to examine the differences in English listening achievement and three types (intrinsic, extraneous, and germane) of cognitive load between outdoor ubiquitous learning (u-learning) and indoor computer-assisted learning (CAL). Participants included 160 university students taking a freshman English course, with 53 males and 107 females. They were randomly assigned to either an experimental group (outdoor u-learning) with 80 participants or a control group (indoor CAL) with 80 participants. The instructional experiment lasted three weeks. The results showed that (a) the experimental group had significantly better English listening achievement than the control group; (b) the experimental group had significantly lower extraneous but higher germane cognitive load than the control group, and both groups did not have a significantly different intrinsic cognitive load; (c) there was a significantly negative relationship between English listening achievement and extraneous cognitive load, a significantly positive relationship between English listening achievement and germane cognitive load, but no significant relationship between English listening achievement and intrinsic cognitive load; and (d) among three types of cognitive loads, only extraneous and germane cognitive loads had a significant correlation. The study may provide some implications for English teaching and u-learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-49
Number of pages12
JournalBehaviour and Information Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 2



  • Computer-assisted learning
  • English listening
  • extraneous cognitive load
  • germane cognitive load
  • intrinsic cognitive load
  • ubiquitous learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Human-Computer Interaction

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