July 2022, Volume 25, Issue 3

Special Issue on "Blockchain in Smart Education" 

Guest Editor(s):  Ching-Hsien Hsu, Amir H. Alavi and He Li 

Full Length Articles

Kun Huang

University of Kentucky, USA // k.huang@uky.edu

Victor Law

University of New Mexico, USA // vlaw@unm.edu


Help seeking is a self-regulated learning strategy, and peer help is an important form of interaction in online education. Yet, students often do not seek help even at the cost of lower performance. To understand the factors behind online students’ commitment to peer help, this study implemented a peer-help discussion forum in an online course and investigated the relationship among students’ help-seeking profiles, epistemic beliefs (EB), and their actual participation in peer help. The findings revealed a significant relationship between students’ EB and the number of response posts in the peer-help forum. Moreover, EB moderated the relationship between students’ help-seeking profiles and the number of response posts. Theoretical and practical implications are drawn from the findings.


Help seeking, Epistemic beliefs, Online education, Self-regulation, Peer help, Online discussion 

Cite as:Huang, K., & Law, V. (2022). Help Seeking from Peers in an Online Class: Roles of Students’ Help-seeking Profiles and Epistemic Beliefs. Educational Technology & Society, 25(3), 1-14. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202207_25(3).0001
Submitted May 14, 2021; Revised October 6, 2021; Accepted October 25, 2021; Published March 17, 2022

Rui Li

School of Foreign Languages, Hunan University, Hunan, China // liruidianzi@hotmail.com


While an increasing number of studies have cast light on the effectiveness of MALL (mobile-assisted language learning) on English as a foreign/second language (EFL/ESL) reading comprehension, there is still a lack of comprehensive meta-analysis regarding the effect sizes of these studies. To fill the gap, this study reported results based on a meta-analysis of 20 effect sizes from 17 experimental and quasi-experimental studies published during 2000–2020. The results showed that the overall effect size was significantly large, suggesting the use of MALL applications for EFL/ESL reading comprehension is more effective than traditional methods. The moderating effects of eight moderators were analyzed. The intervention settings and intervention durations were found to be significant moderators, while others did not find a significant moderating effect. Implications of the findings were discussed.


Meta-analysis, Mobile-assisted language learning (MALL), Reading comprehension

Cite as:Li, R. (2022). Effects of Mobile-Assisted Language Learning on EFL/ESL Reading Comprehension. Educational Technology & Society, 25(3), 15-29. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202207_25(3).0002
Submitted July 2, 2021; Revised September 5, 2021; Accepted October 25, 2021; Published March 17, 2022

Md Abdullah Al Mamun, Md Akbar Hossain, Sayedus Salehin, Md. Shahadat Hossain Khan and Mahbub Hasan

Md Abdullah Al Mamun

Department of Technical and Vocational Education, Islamic University of Technology, Bangladesh // a.mamun@iut-dhaka.edu

Md Akbar Hossain

School of Business and Digital Technologies, Manukau Institute of Technology, New Zealand // akbar.hossain@manukau.ac.nz

Sayedus Salehin

Department of Mechanical and Production Engineering, Islamic University of Technology, Bangladesh // sayedus@iut-dhaka.edu

Md. Shahadat Hossain Khan

Department of Technical and Vocational Education, Islamic University of Technology, Bangladesh // shkhants@iut-dhaka.edu 

Mahbub Hasan

Department of Technical and Vocational Education, Islamic University of Technology, Bangladesh // m.hasan@iut-dhaka.edu 


The recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic forced education institutes to shift to an internet-based online delivery mode. This unique situation accelerates a long-standing issue of digital inequality among the students in education and warrants a concentrated study to investigate students’ readiness for learning in online environment. This study developed an instrument to meticulously measure the students’ readiness for online learning in a pandemic situation. The proposed model consists of (a) motivation, (b) self-efficacy, and (c) situational factors. The proposed model was validated with the engineering students (for pilot study N = 68 and main study N = 988) from several universities in Bangladesh. To validate the underlying relationships between the latent constructs, an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was performed followed by structural equation modelling (SEM) for the construct validity of the measurement model and to assess the model fit. The findings showed that besides motivation and self-efficacy, the situational factors describing the contextual dynamics emerging from the COVID-19 significantly influenced the student’s online readiness. We argue that digital inequality is an important factor influencing student readiness for online learning.


Online learning readiness, COVID-19 pandemic, Bangladesh, Engineering education, Structural Equation Modelling, Situational factors, Digital inequality 

Cite as:Al Mamun, M. A., Hossain, M. A., Salehin, S., Hossain Khan, M. S., & Hasan, M. (2022). Engineering Students’ Readiness for Online Learning Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic: Scale Validation and Lessons Learned from a Developing Country. Educational Technology & Society, 25(3), 30-45. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202207_25(3).0003
Submitted June 10, 2021; Revised September 19, 2021; Accepted November 4, 2021; Published March 22, 2022 

Donggil Song

Sam Houston State University, USA // donggil.song@gmail.com 

Eun Young Oh

Rice University, USA // oh@rice.edu

Hyeonmi Hong

Jeju National University, South Korea // hongspiderweb@gmail.com


The aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of a teaching simulation activity that uses a chatbot on preservice teachers’ efficacy. Forty-six preservice teachers were asked to teach the chatbot the topic of school violence and how to handle it. They were assigned to one of three groups: Teaching a chatbot whose attitude was impolite, polite, or ordinary. The participants completed a teacher efficacy test at the pretest and posttest. The results show that the participants who taught the ordinary chatbot significantly increased their teacher efficacy levels. However, an Analysis of Covariance shows that the posttest scores of student engagement were not significantly different due to the group setting. The data of participants’ conversations with the chatbots and the participant interview data revealed that the ordinary group had more opportunities to increase their mastery experiences than the other groups did. It can be suggested that designing virtual students with ordinary and regular attitudes and behaviors seems appropriate to provide preservice teachers with teaching opportunities to increase their teaching efficacy levels.


Teaching simulation, Virtual agent, Chatbot, Teacher efficacy 

Cite as:Song, D., Oh, E., & Hong, H. (2022). The Impact of Teaching Simulation Using Student Chatbots with Different Attitudes on Preservice Teachers’ Efficacy. Educational Technology & Society, 25(3), 46-59. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202207_25(3).0004
Submitted May 14, 2021; Revised October 31, 2021; Accepted November 29, 2021; Published March 22, 2022 

Ching-Lin Wu

Program of Learning Sciences, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan // Institute for Research Excellence in Learning Sciences, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan // chilin570@ntnu.edu.tw


This study is one of the first to employ an online interactive creativity task platform to explore one’s creativity performance in a paired-player mode. It analyzed the differences between 342 participants’ performances in single- and paired-player modes on two creativity tests: The Alternative Uses Task (AUT) and Chinese Radical Remote Associates Test (CRRAT). Potential factors affecting performance in the paired-player mode were summarized based on participants’ responses to the AUT and CRRAT to analyze the correlation between the factors and creativity performance. Results showed that playing the AUT or CRRAT, low scorers can improve fluency, flexibility, originality, and performance by referring to response category or another participant’s answer, closing the gap between their score and that of the high scorers. These results reveal both the similarities and differences of creativity performance on the two tests in an interactive situation and the correlation between response strategies and creativity performance in the paired-player mode. This study utilized online standardized measurement tools to explore how two persons cooperate in creativity tests to reveal that creativity performance may vary between tasks. 


Creativity, Divergent thinking, Remote associates test, Interaction, Synergetic

Cite as:Wu, C.-L. (2022). How is One Plus One More than Two? The Interaction between Two Players in Online Co-Creativity Tasks. Educational Technology & Society, 25(3), 60-70. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202207_25(3).0005
Submitted June 20, 2021; Revised November 3, 2021; Accepted November 28, 2021; Published March 22, 2022 

Special Issue Articles

Ching-Hsien Hsu, Amir H. Alavi and He Li

Ching-Hsien Hsu

Department Computer Science and Information Engineering, Asia University, Taiwan // Department of Medical Research, China Medical University Hospital, China Medical University, Taiwan // Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Joint Laboratory for Intelligent Micro-Nano Optoelectronic Technology, School of Mathematics and Big Data, Foshan University, Foshan, China // chh@cs.ccu.edu.tw

Amir H. Alavi

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, USA // ALAVI@pitt.edu

He Li

Department of Sciences and Informatics, Muroran Institute of Technology, Japan // heli@mmm.muroran-it.ac.jp


In a smart educational environment, the significant challenges faced by its stakeholders are trust, privacy, and transparency-related issues in sharing and retrieval of any information. Since blockchain is a sole technology provides extraordinary features such as decentralization, traceability, and immutability; integrating this technology in a smart educational environment it can overcome all the technical risks, potential threats, and privacy concerns.  This special issue aims at presenting the current state-of-the-art research and future trends on various aspects of the implementation of blockchain technologies that address the gaps prevailing in copyright and credential related issues, which can be seen as a promising sign for any virtual or innovative developments in teaching and learning platform. Papers selected for this special issue represent recent progress in the field, including works on VR Assisted Learning Environment, Secure Scoring Mechanism for Online Learning, Psychological Distance of Online Education.


Blockchain, Smart education, Virtual reality, Online learning, Education theory

Cite as:Hsu, C.-H., Alavi, A. H., & Li, H. (2022). Guest Editorial: Blockchain in Smart Education. Educational Technology & Society, 25(3), 71-73. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202207_25(3).0006
Published June 14, 2022

Chia-Chen Chen

Department of Management Information Systems, National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan // emily@nchu.edu.tw 

Liang-Yu Chen

Department of Management Information Systems, National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan // g106029003@mail.nchu.edu.tw


Based on “Virtual Reality” (VR), this study constructed a teaching software of glacier terrain, which allows students to explore freely in virtual environment and the effect of different learning modes. This study also collected students’ spatial ability and geographical learning achievement, and explored whether students’ spatial ability and geographical learning achievement affects their learning effect. In this study, senior high school sophomores were selected as the experimental subjects. The students involved were divided into the experimental group and the control group. The experimental group students used VR glacier terrain teaching software to assist their course learning, while the control group students learned the geography course by means of traditional teaching methods. After the experiment, it is found that students in the experimental group performed better than those in the control group in the post-test, and students with high spatial ability and high geographical achievement performed better in the post-test. Through statistical analysis, it is found that “Spatial Visualization” in students’ spatial ability positively affected their learning performance in virtual reality software. In the interviews and feedback sheets after the experiment, most students had positive attitudes towards using virtual reality assisted software for geography course learning. This study verifies the value of using virtual reality to assist geography course learning, and provides more references and suggestions for future researchers.


Virtual reality, Spatial ability, Geographical learning, Learning achievement, Learning effect 

Cite as:Chen, C.-C., & Chen, L.-Y. (2022). Exploring the Effect of Spatial Ability and Learning Achievement on Learning Effect in VR Assisted Learning Environment. Educational Technology & Society, 25(3), 74-90. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202207_25(3).0007
Published April 13, 2022

Ling Zhang

College of Management Science, Chengdu University of Technology, China // zhangling@cdut.edu.cn 

Jiang Ye

College of Earth Sciences, Chengdu University of Technology, China // yejiang@cdut.edu.cn 

Jing-xuan Wang

College of Management Science, Chengdu University of Technology, China // wjx7828@163.com


In educational reform, people actively promote educational innovation by applying intelligent technology. As the main participants in education, people experience a series of psychological and cognitive changes in the teaching process. This autonomy and uncertainty will directly affect the effect of network teaching. Due to the variability in the characteristics of individuals, following the psychological perception and subjective value of people and optimizing the development of wisdom education with a reasonable technical cognitive attitude have become a focus. This study uses the grounded theory method to conduct in-depth interviews and questionnaire surveys on 330 e-learners and extracts 400 codes, 38 concepts, 9 categories and 4 core categories. This paper reconstructs the theoretical model of psychological distance in the network education process and identifies four new dimensions: cost distance, initiative distance, control distance and interaction distance. In addition, the four dimensions reflect four core value needs of learners for online education: convenience, self-efficacy, self-identity and binding force. The paper provides a good theoretical basis to improve the user experience and satisfaction in online education and optimize the level of intelligent education.


Online education, Psychological distance, Grounded theory

Cite as:Zhang, L., Ye, J., & Wang, J. (2022). A Grounded Theory Study of the Psychological Distance in Online Education. Educational Technology & Society, 25(3), 91-104. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202207_25(3).0008
Published April 13, 2022

Cheng-Ting Tsai, Ja-Ling Wu, Yu-Tzu Lin and Martin K.-C. Yeh

Cheng-Ting Tsai

Department of Electrical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taiwan // chtitsai@gmail.com

Ja-Ling Wu

Department of Computer Science, National Taiwan University, Taiwan // wjl@cmlab.csie.ntu.edu.tw

Yu-Tzu Lin

Graduate Institute of Information and Computer Education Institute for Research Excellence in Learning Sciences, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan // linyt@ntnu.edu.tw

Martin K.-C. Yeh

Information Sciences and Technology, Pennsylvania State University Brandywine, USA // kqy1@psu.edu


With the rapid increase of online learning and online degree programs, the need for a secure and fair scoring mechanisms in online learning becomes urgent. In this research, a secure scoring mechanism was designed and developed based on blockchain technology to build transparent and fair interactions among students and teachers. The proposed scoring mechanism was implemented by employing the Ethereum blockchain and its three autonomous smart contracts. The robustness and feasibility of the system was then verified with experiments. The resulting system is shown to be superior to existing online learning systems because it prevents answer tampering. In addition, fairness can be improved with blockchain protocols and a collaborative scoring policy. Lastly, this system helps manage interactions among students and teachers during the process of educational assessment, and encourages all on-chain members to trust the online learning process. These advantages improve peer evaluation and self-directed learning that are essential for a student-centered and collaborative learning environment.


Blockchain, Ethereum, Cryptography, Online learning, Online assessment

Cite as:Tsai, C.-T., Wu, J.-L., Lin, Y.-T., Yeh, M. K.-C. (2022). Design and Development of a Blockchain-Based Secure Scoring Mechanism for Online Learning. Educational Technology & Society, 25(3), 105-121. https://doi.org/10.30191/ETS.202207_25(3).0009
Published May 24, 2022

Starting from Volume 17 Issue 4, all published articles of the journal of Educational Technology & Society are available under Creative Commons CC-BY-ND-NC 3.0 license.