The effects of three teaching models on undergraduate college student achievement in an online self-paced lesson
Martindale, Emery Sherwood
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Non-classroom-based instruction (NCBI) is becoming much more common, particularly due to the growth of computer networks (Harasim, 1995). NCBI is defined in this study as any planned learning environment that is not designed to occur in the traditional classroom. With the rapid expansion of NCBI there is a need to examine its effectiveness in terms of instructional design. A primary method of evaluating various forms of NCBI lies in the examination of the teaching model employed in the instructional design. Many institutions and organizations are providing computer-based instruction for training students and employees. However a large segment of this NCBI remains exclusively in the domain of the behavioral family of teaching models, despite evidence of the effectiveness of other teaching models (Joyce et al., 1992). This is occurring even as the effectiveness of current NCBI is under scrutiny due to high drop-out and failure rates. This quasi-experimental study compared three teaching models from three distinct model classifications for effectiveness in an online self-paced lesson. The models were direct instruction from the behavioral models, concept attainment from the information processing models, and group discussion from the social interaction models. The research questions were: what effect does teaching model have on college students' achievement in a self-paced online lesson?; and what effect does teaching models have on number of test attempts? Participants were a class section of 128 undergraduate college students enrolled in a self-paced campus-based computer literacy course. The study found no significant differences in number of test attempts needed to pass the course instrument. There were also no significant differences in mean test scores or first attempt test scores for participants, regardless of teaching model or prior WWW experience. There was a significant interaction effect between teaching model and WWW experience. This may indicate that certain models are more effective for NCBI environments. Instructors may not have to train for both using the World Wide Web and for the course content. Limitations of the study included the length of time the activities were carried out, and the length, difficulty level, and comprehensiveness of the measurement instmments. Suggestions for further research included: use of other teaching models and combinations of models; increased intervention time with the teaching models; and use of altemative populations and instructional content.