Learner control of review in computer-assisted instruction within a military training environment

Allen, Gary William, Ph.D., University of Kansas, 1989


Purpose. This study examined the effect learner control of review had on achievement, acquisition rate, and efficiency, in Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI). A course on military map reading was converted into two versions of CAI from an existing programmed text. In version one, Limited Access to the Content Review Option (LACRO), subjects could access a summarized review of the content after a lesson had been completed. In version two, Open Access to the Content Review Option (OACRO), subjects controlled access to the review at the end of a lesson, when presented a question, and after receiving feedback.

Method. A two group design was used. The independent variable was learner control of review. Data was collected for five dependent variables: (1) posttest (fact, procedure and problem solving questions), (2) instructional time, (3) attention time, (4) acquisition rate, and (5) review time. Subjects (n = 70) were randomly assigned to groups. After the posttest subjects completed a questionnaire regarding use of the content review option.

Findings. Multivariate and univariate tests of means revealed no significant difference between the groups on the posttest, attention time, or acquisition rate. The OACRO group had a significantly longer mean instructional time. This difference was attributed to the time the OACRO group devoted to review. An examination of the OACRO data showed that the review option was primarily used before answering a question. The questionnaire revealed that the subjects generally used the review for fact and procedure type questions. There was also a strong indication that the review would be employed more often if external motivators (e.g., minimum score) were present.

Conclusions. Findings demonstrated that a review option does not seem to increase achievement over what can be achieved by using embedded questions. The conclusion is that for certain forms of content, a linear design (content followed by questions) seems adequate for learning and may be more efficient. Also, there are indications of a need to teach students how to use learner controlled options. Student use of learner controlled options could be enhanced if the instructional design community adopted standard conventions for a user interface in CAI.

205 pages