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Short Paper Proc. of Int. Conf.

on Advances in Computing, Control, and Telecommunication Technologies 2011

Engaging Learners to Learn Tajweed through Active Participation in a Multimedia Application (TaLA)
Marina Ismail, Norizan Mat Diah, Suzana Ahmad & Aida Abdul Rahman
Computer Science Department, Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Sciences Universiti Teknologi MARA Shah Alam, Malaysia E-mail: marina@tmsk.uitm.edu.my, norizan@tmsk.uitm.edu.my, suzana@tmsk.uitm.edu.my
AbstractTajweed is the rules of reading al-Quran together with the proper pronunciation of the Quranic letters. Learning tajweed requires a two-ways communication between the learner and the teacher. This paper will discuss the design and development process of a multimedia application that was designed to encourage active learners participation in learning tajweed. This application focuses only on the introduction of Izhar Halqi of the tajweed. This application has blended the various multimedia elements into the application to create a learning environment that invites learner to actively participate in the learning process. Multiple strategies such as storytelling sessions, quizzes, and games are designed in a single application for a rich learning environment that engages learners to the learning process. A study that was conducted with students ages 10 years old found that learners are able to recognize the izhar halqis letter after using the application and can identify where the rules of Izhar halqi is applied in a Quran verse. This application is a supplement to the process of learning tajweed which is currently being taught in classroom setting through books and one-to-one interaction with the teacher. The active interaction between learner and the application make the learning process more appealing and fun. Index Termsrich learning activity environment; childrens learning; multimedia application; tajweed

II.

BACKGROUND

OF THE RESEARCH

I. INTRODUCTION Developing a computer based training is becoming a fardhu kifayah to Muslim especially in converting existing static based Islamic materials to a software program that are more appealing to Muslim Ummah in general. Children nowadays are adventurous, always keen on new technology be it for learning or playing. Computers have been used for decades to teach children on variety of knowledge such as Science, Mathematics and languages. Learning tajweed in Malaysia most oftenly are conducted in classes through a face-to-face approach and tested through pencil-and-paper approach. Face-to-face approach is no doubt, the best teaching method, however, the class size hinder the interaction required between learner and teacher. Meanwhile, pencil-and-paper evaluation does not provide an instant feedback which is very useful in teaching and learning setting. Therefore, this research is conducted in order to try to lessen the interaction and feedback gap and also to contribute to the Islamic Umma. This new perspective of learning tajweed is hoped to be able to groom Muslims into a proficient AlQuran reciter.

Children at young age are easily bored with just reading books especially in learning tajweed. According to [1], tajweed cannot merely be learnt from books because the movements of mouth as well as the sounds are important to make the AlQuran recitation correct. Currently, tajweed are being taught at school or special classes. Learning is done on one-to-one or group basis with religious teacher attending to each of the students. An interview conducted with religious teacher from an Islamic school in Selangor revealed that tajweed is difficult to be learned and understood by the children because the children do not really know the meaning of the words in the Al-Quran and learning tajweed is only confined to limited time available at school or special classes. The current method that is used to teach the children about tajweed which is using books and face to face tutorial is not sufficient as students need also to study on their own and do revision of what they have been taught. Another interview with Islamic scholars in Kedah conducted by [2] discovered that the use of sound is important in learning tajweed because children need to hear how to pronounce the word in Al-Quran correctly and how to recite the rule of tajweed properly. Based on the interview, [2] concluded that full explanation of tajweed function, its usage in the Al-Quran verses and also the proper way of reciting Al-Quran cannot be done at school alone due to the time constraint. Therefore, the children need to study tajweed at home as well. So far, very few or limited tool is available that can be used by learners to learn tajweed at home and in a more attractive approach. A study by [8] had developed a multimedia application to teach tajweed to a group of student in a religious school in Indonesia and proven the use of the application has increased the learners attraction and motivation to learn tajweed. The application however, focuses on adult learner, which contain merely information about tajweed in various media, as discussed in their article [8]. Another initiative to promote the learning of tajweed electronically is conducted by [9] when they develop a multimedia based learning application to teach tajweed with semantic approach. III. THE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY The purpose of this study is to provide a more refreshing, more interesting and interactive way to learn and understand tajweed. This research focuses on blending the best 88

2011 ACEEE DOI: 02.ACT.2011.03. 45

Short Paper Proc. of Int. Conf. on Advances in Computing, Control, and Telecommunication Technologies 2011 multimedia approach to be incorporated into a single application to create a rich learning environment that are able to attract learners to learn tajweed and also able to remember what have been learnt. This application has blended a various multimedia elements into the application to create a learning environment that invites learner to actively participate in the learning process. Multiple strategies such as storytelling sessions, quizzes, and games are designed in a single application for a rich learning environment that engages learners to the learning process. Our scopes for this research are children in a range of 7 to 10 years old who already knew how to read Al-Quran but not proficient with the rules, that is the tajweed. The benefits of this project are as follows: The application enables children to learn tajweed at home. This will promote independent learning environment where the children could learn tajweed by themselves or together with their parents or siblings. The use of game in this application will make the tajweed learning process more interesting. The active interaction between children and this application make the learning process more appealing and fun. This project also provides valuable information about tajweed in order to make it easier for children to learn tajweed. This application focuses only on the introduction of Izhar Halqi of the tajweed. IV. IMPORTANCE OF TAJWEED According to [1], the word tajweed literally means to improve and to make better. It comes from the same root letters as the word Jayyid in Arabic (meaning good). When applied to the Al-Quran, it means giving every letter of the Al-Quran its rights and dues of characteristics. When a Muslim recite the Al-Quran, they should be able to observe the rules that apply to those letters in relative situations. A Muslim should also give the letters their rights by observing the essential characteristics of each letter. According to [1], there are two types of mistakes that one might be committing when reciting the Al-Quran: Clear mistakes: Mistakes in pronouncing a word, usually changing the meaning of the word. These mistakes are normally related to incorrect pronunciation of letters, or letters had been mixed up by the reader. Unobvious mistakes: Pronouncing without following the proper tajweed rules. This type of mistakes only can be realized by those who have studied tajweed rules or experts in this field. V. RICH LEARNING ACTIVITY ENVIRONMENT Active learning has been described as involving students in activities other than listening or reading [3]. According to [3], engaging students in the learning process has been shown to be an effective means for education. Multimedia application can become the mean for active learning as it can engage children with learning. [4] Contented that students engagement could be increase by allowing them to be in control or in-charge of the system, granting ownership or personalization into the system and provide immediate response for every actions. Interactivity is another activity that can be held to increase students understanding. An interaction can be either with instructor, peer students, or with technology (hardware or software). An interaction which is followed by a feedback will stimulate students participation. Feedback will allow students realize about the impact of their actions and, furthermore, about the topic being taught. This reaction, will lead to new knowledge constructed. [5] Quoted that active learning is the way children construct knowledge. The learning process is seen as an interaction between goaloriented actions of the learner and the environmental realities that affect those actions. Kolbs Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) suggests that learning styles may differ in individuals with some learners grasp new information through concrete experience while others by conceptualizing it through symbolic representation [10]. Experiencing learning requires active interaction through various activities and conceptualizing the information may come through the examples or learning models. Active learning if blends together with multimedia elements will create an interesting multimedia application that will provide a Rich Learning Activity Environment (RLAE) that engages learners to keep on learning and support the various learning styles as suggested by Kolb. VI. DEVELOPMENT METHODS The development methods that was used for the development of this project follows the five steps approach in Instructional Systems Design (ISD), the ADDIE. ADDIE is an acronym referring to the major processes that comprise the generic ISD process [6] which stands for Analyze, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. A. Analysis and Design During analysis, the problem statement, the objectives, scope and methodology used for this project is being analysed and identified. Interview conducted provides an overview situation of current learning process for tajweed among primary school students. The approaches that has been adopted for this system are storytelling and gaming, where the playground has been used as the metaphor together with the multimedia elements such as text, graphic, audio and animation. The application has five learning modules comprises of main page, learning module, storytelling, game and exercises. Active learning approach method was applied in the exercise and game module. Story telling module was 89

Reciting al-Quran wrongly will cause a wrong interpretation of the meaning of the verses. This issue is critical and must be avoided. Therefore learning to read alQuran profoundly must be tackled at the early stage of a muslims development.

2011 ACEEE DOI: 02.ACT.2011.03. 45

Short Paper Proc. of Int. Conf. on Advances in Computing, Control, and Telecommunication Technologies 2011 used to introduce the learning content - izhar halqi. The game module was used for the reinforcement of the content while exercises module will test the students knowledge about izhar halqi. The conceptual model for Tajweed Learning Application (TaLA) is shown in Fig.1

Figure 3. Sample screen shots for the main menu and storytelling module

Figure 1. Conceptual Model for TaLA

The conceptual model describes the components that built the Tajweed Learning Application (TaLA). For the learning theory, it emphasizes on active learning in the main modules of the application. The teaching and learning approach that was adopted is the storytelling and gaming, while the metaphor used is the playground. These are selected to meet the requirement of the target audience that is children ages between 7 to 10 years old. Multimedia element uses were also presented in the model which are text, graphic, audio and animation. The choices of elements to be used in the application are decided to suit the childrens interest. Finally, the model presented the modules that are available in the application. B. Development & Implementation This stage involves the development of the prototype of TaLA. Tools that have been used in this project were Macromedia Flash 8 to develop the application, Adobe Photoshop to design interfaces and buttons, Game Maker to design the game, and Windows Movie Maker to edit the sound. This application contains four main learning activities through its modules which are: the Learning module, Storytelling module, Game module and Exercises module. Fig. 3 and Fig. 4 showed samples of screen shots for TaLA. Fig.3 showed the main menu screen which adopted the playground metaphor that signifies the childrens interest whom enjoy playing on the playground and the storytelling approach for content delivery. The storytelling module explains the content and provides examples for children to understand the content better. The storytelling requires user involvement through interaction with the teacher character. The interaction also contributes to active learning which enhance users engagement to learning.

Fig. 4 showed the exercise and game screen for reinforcement. Based on communication theory, instructional process occurs when the instructor, or in this case the application were informed of the learners learning status [7]. TaLA injected this feature in the exercise and game module. Exercise module is where the children knew that they are being tested and evaluated. It gives feedback for each action given by the learner. Scores are given at the end of the exercise for the teacher/ parent to assess the childrens learning progress. Meanwhile, game module enhanced retention by allowing children to freely play a game which actually testing their knowledge on all the different characters in Izhar Halqi. Children are able to assess their progress through scores at the end of the game. The score motivates the children to keep on trying in order to achieve a higher score, and in order to achieve a higher score, the children need to master the knowledge of the tajweed, Izhar Halqi.

Figure 4. Sample screen shots for the exercise and game module for reinforcement

C. Evaluation A usability evaluation was done with 10 years old children of a primary school in the Klang Valley. The usability evaluation evaluates students engagement towards learning when using this rich learning application to learn tajweed as well their learnability in terms of its content. The participant are already familiar with jawi characters and able to recite alQuran, however they are not proficient with the tajweed. The requirements that had been used for the testing are the headphone, mouse and laptop COMPAQ Presario V3000. Fig. 5 showed the test that was conducted at the school.

Figure 5. Video capture of children during usability evaluation

During the testing, students were allowed to roam around the application to listen to the storytelling, and the correct 2011 ACEEE DOI: 02.ACT.2011.03.45 90

Short Paper Proc. of Int. Conf. on Advances in Computing, Control, and Telecommunication Technologies 2011 character pronunciation. The students use the application with little assistance and they were all attracted to the application for its colorful interfaces and the various learning activity provided in the application. The learning activity that attracted the students are the storytelling, interactive exercises and the game. The result showed that students can recognize izhar halqis letters, collect the right izhar halqis letters in the game and answer the questions about tajweed correctly. Students are engaged with the various activities presented in the application. This learning model can be applied to any learning situation as it able to attract and engaged learners to learn through the rich learning environment that it adopted. CONCLUSIONS TaLA has proven that a rich learning activity environment (RLAE) which combines the content display in a storytelling approach, active participation through gaming and exercises can create a promising approach for teaching and learning especially for children. This RLAE is also best applied for subject or courses that require children to learn the subject repetitively in order to master the content. REFERENCES
[1] F. Barakatullah, The importance of tajweed, 2006 [online]. Available from: http://www.islaam.net/main/display.php?id=547 &category=2 [Accessed 18 August 2008]. [2] N. A. Che Juhairi, Learning Tajweed for children using scaffolding approach. Unpublished Final Year Project Dissertation. Univeriti Teknologi MARA, May, 2008. [3] D. Schweitzer, and W. Brown. Interactive visualization for the active learning classroom, Proceedings of the 38th SIGCSE technical symposium on Computer science education, 2007, pp. 208-209. [4] Normahdiah, Designing multimedia application for children: Towards a Model of Engagement. 2007. Available from: http:// www.digital learning.in/articles/articles-details.asp?articleid=952 &typ = Perspective [Accessed 30 August 2009]. [5] S. A Clemons, Developing on-line courses for visual/ kinesthetic learners: A case study, Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning. vol. 1(11) pp. 51-56, 2004. [6] W.W. Lee. and D. L. Owens., Multimedia-Based Instructional Design. John Wiley & Sons., San Francisco, 2004. [7] P. L. Smith, and J.T. Ragan., Instructional Design. 3 rd Ed. John Wiley & Sons., 2005. [8] I. Khasanah and H. al-Fatta, Rancang bangun media pembelajaran tajwid berbasis multimedia, Jurnal DASI (Jurnal Informatika dan Teknologi Informasi), Sekolah Tinggi Manajemen Informatika dan Komputer, Yogyakarta, pp. 1-9, 2010. [9] N. H. Mohd Nasir, F. Baharom, H. Harun, H. Mohd, A. Y. Daud, N Darus, A. Ghadaffi and A. Yassin, Model pembelajaran e-tajwid (ETLM) berasaskan semantik dan elemen multimedia, Proceedings of Regional Conference on Knowledge Integration in ICT, pp. 89 97, 2010. [10] D. Kolb and R. Boyatzis, R., Experiential Learning Theory: Previous Research and New Directions, in R. J. Sternberg and L. F. Zhang (Eds.), Perspectives on cognitive, learning, and thinking styles. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2000.

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