PropG—An Online Application for Learning Plant Propagation Glossary Terms

Authors:
Sandra B. Wilson Department of Environmental Horticulture, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, PO Box 110670, Gainesville, FL 32611-0670, USA

Search for other papers by Sandra B. Wilson in
This Site
Google Scholar
Close
,
Robert L. Geneve Department of Horticulture, 401B Plant Science Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546-0312, USA

Search for other papers by Robert L. Geneve in
This Site
Google Scholar
Close
,
Frederick T. Davies Department of Horticultural Sciences, 2133 TAMU, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2134, USA

Search for other papers by Frederick T. Davies in
This Site
Google Scholar
Close
, and
Aaron J. Sotala College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Center for Online Learning and Technology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0270, USA

Search for other papers by Aaron J. Sotala in
This Site
Google Scholar
Close

Click on author name to view affiliation information

Abstract

A mobile web application called PropG was developed for students to quickly access more than 270 glossary terms defined in a plant propagation textbook. The functionality and usefulness of the app was evaluated by 53 students enrolled in a semester-long online course in plant propagation. Means of pre- and post-test responses to 17 knowledge items showed students perceived a significant knowledge gain in the course for each of the subject categories evaluated. Most students agreed or strongly agreed this learning tool was organized and easy to navigate and would use it in the future. Since 2021, PropG received 153,645 total page views, 90,818 unique visits, and 17,216 returning visits, showing its widespread use in plant propagation.

Distance education enrollments continue to climb as more and more classes are offered online. In the latest report, 37.2% of all higher education students are taking at least one distance education course (Seaman and Seaman 2019). Increasingly, technology offers opportunities to create powerful learning tools, regardless the learning platform (Nunez et al. 2022). Yet it remains crucial we develop students who can think critically and have access to the latest technologies adaptable to local situations. Effective hybrid courses use a variety of online instructional strategies to enhance interactive learning, ensure critical thinking, and provide immediate feedback. These include horticulture-related, novel works such as interactive review quizzes (Campbell et al. 2011), greenhouse simulation (Tignor et al. 2007), plant life cycle animations (Wilson et al. 2018a), and virtual plant identification maps (Wilson and Miller 2015). In addition, mobile web-based applications are continually sought after to facilitate learning in an online environment and are ideal for spaced repetition memory techniques (Ali et al. 2022) and reinforcement of important subject knowledge (Kobayashi 2013).

As examples, in ornamental horticulture, mobile applications have been developed to help users achieve a variety of goals, like designing sustainable landscapes with butterfly- and bee-friendly plants (Lewis et al. 2022), identifying plants by family (Wilson and Flory 2012), and determining optimal irrigation run times in nursery container production (Yeager and Million 2016). Yet, nothing exists specific to plant propagation.

The study of plant propagation requires a working knowledge of a significant number of terms. The volume of terms alone renders it impractical for inclusion with any given textbook, as the amount would require a book in and of itself. Providing these terms via an educational mobile application, which can be freely accessed by anyone, would be a significant resource. A mobile application also provides an opportunity to provide higher quality images, video, and hyperlinks to additional resources, which would not be an option in traditional publishing. Hence, the idea of PropG was conceived as a collaborate effort between the University of Florida (Gainesville, FL, USA), University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY, USA), and Texas A&M University (College Station, TX, USA). The purpose of this project was to 1) build a novel teaching application to easily access glossary terms and concepts in nine major subject areas, 2) evaluate students’ perceived content knowledge gain from using this teaching tool, and 3) promote this universally as a resource for anyone interested in plant propagation.

Materials and methods

Navigational interface development

The underlying technology behind the PropG web app (University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences 2023) is a JavaScript mobile library (JQuery, Mountain View, CA, USA). This open-source software allowed the entire app to be designed specifically with mobile users in mind and provided the initial templates on which the pages were based. The PropG home page (level 1) consists of three primary tabs: “home,” “terms,” and “about.” The “home” level 2 tab was built to allow users to select from nine major categories of plant propagation (Fig. 1), each prompting new pages with level 3 and 4 options. For example, if users select the “biology of propagation” option, next they will be asked to select from additional level 3 sub-options (“hormones,” “cell types,” and “cell biology”). If the “hormones” option is then chosen, the user will then be asked to select from a level 4 menu of different hormone terms (“abscisic acid,” “auxin,” “cytokinin,” etc.), and finally specific information and imagery will appear from which the user can learn. In addition to the “home” tab, a “terms” tab was built as a searchable index to allow users to view all 270 glossary terms alphabetically. Finally, the “about” tab was designed to provide background information about PropG, devices it can be viewed on, and two different ways it can be used to learn propagation terms. Conceptual text was formatted for viewing on multiple devices. More than 1265 images were improved and edited with accompanying alt tags (alternate text) for screen readers. Code was added allowing users to save icons onto their portable devices for single-click access, similar to dedicated apps. A tracking software (Statcounter; Guinness Enterprise Centre, Dublin, Ireland) was used to monitor PropG and provide usage trends, numbers of unique and return visits, platform typed used, and country location of users.

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

Screenshot of the front page of the mobile application (PropG) built using jQuery software (JQuery, Mountain View, CA, USA). Users can first select from these nine subject areas within the PropG navigational menu (University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences 2023).

Citation: HortTechnology 33, 2; 10.21273/HORTTECH05128-22

Glossary content

Within the Hartmann and Kester’s Plant Propagation: Principles and Practices ninth edition textbook (Davies et al. 2018), important terminology was introduced within the body of the chapters and designated with orange bold font. These 500 terms and definitions were arranged in alphabetical order and listed within a glossary located in the back of the textbook for easy reference. For the PropG web application, 270 of these terms were selected and re-written for mobile device specifications to include enriched descriptors, images, and videos. Glossary terms and corresponding graphics were then organized into nine categories, including 1) “biology of propagation,” 2) “propagation environment,” 3) “genetic selection,” 4) “seed propagation,” 5) “cutting propagation,” 6) “budding and grafting,” 7) “bulbs and other geophytes,” 8) “layering and division,” and 9) “tissue culture and micropropagation” (Fig. 1). Collectively these core subject areas unveiled 327 more entries providing conceptual descriptors along with more than 1268 images and 56 streaming video demonstrations to provide practical applications of propagation terminology (Table 1).

Survey analysis

A pre- and post-test assessment instrument was developed that included 17 knowledge items designed to assess perceived knowledge change/gain in plant propagation. Additional questions asked which device was used to access PropG, how useful the glossary information was, how well was it organized and easy to navigate, and the likelihood of it being used in the future for other courses or purposes. The resultant questionnaire was administered to students (n = 53) via a web course management system used in an 18-week upper-level, online course in plant propagation. Items used a Likert-type scale (1 to 5), with responses ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5). Means of each knowledge question were calculated for both pre- and post-test responses and then compared by using a matched pairs t test at P ≤ 0.05 (JMP Pro version 14.1.0; SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA).

Results and discussion

Most students enrolled in the plant propagation course (77%) used a laptop to access PropG, followed by a smartphone or tablet (28%), and then a desktop (26%). Seven percent of respondents reported to not have used PropG, and 2% did not answer this question. The high percentage of students using a laptop to assess online materials is consistent with results from a former course survey (Wilson et al. 2018b) and shows the value of building applications for use on multiple platforms. Comparatively, analytics of users worldwide show that 49.8% accessed PropG using a desktop, followed by a mobile device (48.4%) and then a tablet (Statcounter Guinness Enterprise Center, Dublin, Ireland).

Results showed that on every level, students perceived a significant content knowledge gain from this course, resulting in an average increase of 52%. The greatest category gain in perceived content knowledge was “stages of graft union formation,” followed by “layering systems for root formation,” and then “geophyte propagation” (Table 2). This increase in knowledge gain when using a mobile application is consistent with other reports. Poláková and Klímová (2019) reported an 18% increase in learning when students used a mobile application for foreign language definitions compared with students who did not. Likewise, Lu et al. (2021) reported mobile application usage increased student’s mastery and retention of medical terminology.

Table 1.

Four broad teaching modules within 18 chapters of a plant propagation textbook (Davies et al. 2018), along with representative subject content and associated glossary concepts, were used to build PropG, a mobile web application. This propagation app can be viewed on a desktop or added to a user’s home screen for quick reference (University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences 2023).

Table 1.
Table 2.

Students’ perceived pre- and post-test content knowledge means, difference, and significance (n = 53) in an online plant propagation course that used a new mobile application (PropG) to review more than 270 glossary terms (University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences 2023). Knowledge items used a Likert scale with responses ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) and means were compared using a matched pair t test.

Table 2.

When asked more general questions about the PropG mobile application, 77.6% of students surveyed strongly agreed or agreed the online glossary links were helpful in learning plant propagation terms and concepts. Most students (81.8%) found PropG to be organized and easy to navigate and view pages, with an additional 17.2% being undecided or without an opinion. One student did not find the tool easy to use. Students (78.6%) strongly agreed or agreed that they would use it again in the future to quickly recall important plant terms and concepts.

In conclusion, PropG has overwhelmingly received positive feedback by students who use it as a learning tool, instructors who use it to supplement their propagation courses, and by commercial nursery professionals eager to quickly reference textbook terms. The application is dynamic, as authors plan to add content over time. Its use extends well beyond the United States, as people from 51 countries already have accessed the application. In addition to access of PropG at no cost (University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences 2023), there are additional online resources that propagation instructors may find useful, such as interactive review exercises, online laboratory activities, and guest lectures available at the lead author’s course website (University of Florida, Department of Environmental Horticulture 2023).

References cited

  • Ali, HAZ, Elnaggar, MS & Elharon, SH. 2022 Interaction between mobile applications based on spaced learning types and cognitive style Elementary Educ Online. 21 244 263

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Campbell, KR, Wilson, SB, Wilson, PC & He, Z. 2011 Interactive online tools for teaching plant identification HortTechnology. 21 504 508 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH.21.4.504

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Davies, FT Jr, Geneve, RL & Wilson, SB. 2018 Hartmann and Kester’s plant propagation: Principles and practices 9th ed Pearson Education Inc. New York, NY, USA

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kobayashi, KD. 2013 Are there horticulture-related mobile applications for me? HortTechnology. 23 399 401 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH.23.4.399

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lewis, C, Momol, E, Wichman, T, Bossart, J, Kavalan, C, Daniels, J, Wilson, SB, Marble, C, Unruh, J & Wilber, W. 2022 Mobile web apps promote Florida-friendly landscaping™ (abstr) HortScience. 57 S128

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lu, M, Farhat, JH & Dallaghan, GL. 2021 Enhanced learning and retention of medical knowledge using the mobile flash car application Anki Med Sci Educ. 31 1975 1981 https://doi.org/10.1007/s40670-021-01386-9

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nunez, GH, Anderson, NO, Imler, CS, Irish, L, Miller, CT & Neves da Silva, M. 2022 Workshop proceedings: Going beyond Zoom – Tips and tricks for teaching horticulture online HortTechnology. 32 325 330 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH05037-22

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Poláková, P & Klímová, B. 2019 Mobile technology and generation Z in the English language classroom – A preliminary study Educ Sci. 9 203 https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9030203

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Seaman, JE & Seaman, J. 2019 Distance education state almanac https://www.bayviewanalytics.com/reports/almanac/national_almanac2019.pdf [accessed 18 Aug 2022]

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tignor, ME, Wilson, SB, Giacomelli, GA, Kubota, C, Fitz, E, Irani, TA, Rhoades, E & McMahon, MJ. 2007 Multi-institutional cooperation to develop digital media for interactive greenhouse education HortTechnology. 17 397 399 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH.21.4.504

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • University of Florida, Department of Environmental Horticulture 2023 Creative tools https://irrecenvhort.ifas.ufl.edu/creative_tools.html [accessed 17 Aug 2022]

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences 2023 PropG https://propg.ifas.ufl.edu/ [accessed 2 Sep 2022]

  • Wilson, SB, Davies, FT & Geneve, RL. 2018a Hartmann and Kester’s principles and practices of plant propagation: A sneak preview of the 9th edition Comb Proc Int Plant Propag Soc. 1212 291 296

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilson, SB, Geneve, RL & Davies, FT. 2018b An online study tool for reviewing plant propagation terms and concepts HortTechnology. 28 851 854 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH04184-18

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilson, SB & Flory, L. 2012 FloraGator: A novel, interactive, and online multiple-entry key for identifying plant families HortTechnology. 22 410 412 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH.22.3.410

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilson, MS & Miller, C. 2015 Using Google maps web-application to create virtual plant maps for use as an online study tool in plant identification courses HortTechnology. 25 253 256 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH.25.2.253

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yeager, T & Million, J. 2016 Irrigation app for container nurseries Proc Annu Meet Fla State Hort Soc. 129 263 265

  • Ali, HAZ, Elnaggar, MS & Elharon, SH. 2022 Interaction between mobile applications based on spaced learning types and cognitive style Elementary Educ Online. 21 244 263

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Campbell, KR, Wilson, SB, Wilson, PC & He, Z. 2011 Interactive online tools for teaching plant identification HortTechnology. 21 504 508 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH.21.4.504

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Davies, FT Jr, Geneve, RL & Wilson, SB. 2018 Hartmann and Kester’s plant propagation: Principles and practices 9th ed Pearson Education Inc. New York, NY, USA

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kobayashi, KD. 2013 Are there horticulture-related mobile applications for me? HortTechnology. 23 399 401 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH.23.4.399

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lewis, C, Momol, E, Wichman, T, Bossart, J, Kavalan, C, Daniels, J, Wilson, SB, Marble, C, Unruh, J & Wilber, W. 2022 Mobile web apps promote Florida-friendly landscaping™ (abstr) HortScience. 57 S128

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lu, M, Farhat, JH & Dallaghan, GL. 2021 Enhanced learning and retention of medical knowledge using the mobile flash car application Anki Med Sci Educ. 31 1975 1981 https://doi.org/10.1007/s40670-021-01386-9

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nunez, GH, Anderson, NO, Imler, CS, Irish, L, Miller, CT & Neves da Silva, M. 2022 Workshop proceedings: Going beyond Zoom – Tips and tricks for teaching horticulture online HortTechnology. 32 325 330 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH05037-22

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Poláková, P & Klímová, B. 2019 Mobile technology and generation Z in the English language classroom – A preliminary study Educ Sci. 9 203 https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9030203

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Seaman, JE & Seaman, J. 2019 Distance education state almanac https://www.bayviewanalytics.com/reports/almanac/national_almanac2019.pdf [accessed 18 Aug 2022]

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tignor, ME, Wilson, SB, Giacomelli, GA, Kubota, C, Fitz, E, Irani, TA, Rhoades, E & McMahon, MJ. 2007 Multi-institutional cooperation to develop digital media for interactive greenhouse education HortTechnology. 17 397 399 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH.21.4.504

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • University of Florida, Department of Environmental Horticulture 2023 Creative tools https://irrecenvhort.ifas.ufl.edu/creative_tools.html [accessed 17 Aug 2022]

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences 2023 PropG https://propg.ifas.ufl.edu/ [accessed 2 Sep 2022]

  • Wilson, SB, Davies, FT & Geneve, RL. 2018a Hartmann and Kester’s principles and practices of plant propagation: A sneak preview of the 9th edition Comb Proc Int Plant Propag Soc. 1212 291 296

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilson, SB, Geneve, RL & Davies, FT. 2018b An online study tool for reviewing plant propagation terms and concepts HortTechnology. 28 851 854 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH04184-18

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilson, SB & Flory, L. 2012 FloraGator: A novel, interactive, and online multiple-entry key for identifying plant families HortTechnology. 22 410 412 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH.22.3.410

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilson, MS & Miller, C. 2015 Using Google maps web-application to create virtual plant maps for use as an online study tool in plant identification courses HortTechnology. 25 253 256 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH.25.2.253

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yeager, T & Million, J. 2016 Irrigation app for container nurseries Proc Annu Meet Fla State Hort Soc. 129 263 265

Sandra B. Wilson Department of Environmental Horticulture, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, PO Box 110670, Gainesville, FL 32611-0670, USA

Search for other papers by Sandra B. Wilson in
Google Scholar
Close
,
Robert L. Geneve Department of Horticulture, 401B Plant Science Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546-0312, USA

Search for other papers by Robert L. Geneve in
Google Scholar
Close
,
Frederick T. Davies Department of Horticultural Sciences, 2133 TAMU, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2134, USA

Search for other papers by Frederick T. Davies in
Google Scholar
Close
, and
Aaron J. Sotala College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Center for Online Learning and Technology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0270, USA

Search for other papers by Aaron J. Sotala in
Google Scholar
Close

Contributor Notes

We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Florida (CALS-UF) mini-grant program for instructional improvement of distance education. We extend gratitude to Carlee Steppe, Heather Kalaman, and James Coole for their assistance with data compilation and analysis. This study received exempt institutional review board approval from the UF Research Division of Operations.

S.B.W. is the corresponding author. E-mail: sbwilson@ufl.edu.

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 777 444 26
PDF Downloads 516 255 12
Advertisement
Longwood Gardens Fellows Program 2024

 

Advertisement
Save