Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Tony Fetherston


This study examined how computer technology had an effect on a Year 9 visual arts education class with regard to the Western Australian four Arts Learning Outcomes (WA 4ALO). The research was administered concurrently with a learning approach called Cross-Linked Leaming (CLL) (Zervos, 1997), which consisted of three components: (1) the subject (e.g., visual arts education in relation to the WA 4ALO); (2) the learner (i.e., a target group and how they learn); and (3) the tool (e.g., computer technology). This study addressed the problem of how to promote learning in visual arts education, especially with visual arts theory. Historically, students have preferred to make art than to study art theory subjects such as art history and art criticism/response. Furthermore, many students may have found, traditional ways of learning theory to be less engaging and stimulating than making art. For this study, a sample consisted of 19 female students from an independent secondary school in Perth for one school term. The students were divided into three groups for the three data collections methods: (l) the whole class completed pre and post-questionnaires; (2) five pairs of students participated in pre- and post-interviews; and, (3) nine students' art portfolios representative of different levels, of achievement, that were analysed at the end of the school term. The methodology was action research. Data was collected and interpreted to answer the primary research question through four sub-questions as follows: (1.0) What was the effect of CLL on students; (1.1) What were students' attitudes towards CLL; (1.2) What skills did students require for CLL; (1.3) What knowledge did students exercise with CLL; and (1.4) What were students' preferences for !earning with CLL?" The results showed that the three components of CLL had a predominately positive effect upon most students in terms of their attitudes, skills, knowledge, and preferences. Furthermore, the students showed a first preference for learning visual arts theory in a CLL framework reflecting a social constructivist and student-centered way of learning that included using, computers 75% of the-•time for visual arts theory instruction. This thesis demonstrates that CLL is an effective framework for the Year 9 visual arts students who participated in this study.