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.
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