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Presentation 6C4. Comparison of Multimedia Educational Materials Used in an Introductory Statistical Methods Course

J. Richard Alldredge (USA)
Nicholas A. Som (USA)  


Presentation Abstract
We desired to improve student learning in our introductory, algebra-based statistical methods course taught at Washington State University. Marketing claims as well as anecdotal evidence suggested that electronic forms of educational material improve student learning. Some recent empirical evidence presented in the statistical literature uses both qualitative and quantitative data to evaluate computer-based learning aids. We decided to contribute to evaluation of educational technology by using statistical principles to compare multimedia products. As part of this effort we designed an experiment to evaluate the use of ActivStats Multimedia Educational Software (on CD) and CyberStats Introduction to Statistics (on the web) in an introductory statistical methods course. Specifically, we assessed how the use of these two forms of educational material in the statistics laboratory portion of our course impacted learning.

Each of nine lab sections was assigned to one of the two forms of instructional material. The same instructor taught the lecture sections for all students. We used exam scores and total course points to compare student performance as associated with the form of instructional material. We assessed changes in attitudes and opinions through pre and post course questionnaires. We also collected information on pre-course math skills, GPA, SAT scores, and a university admission index number to control for student characteristics. We used analysis of variance, analysis of covariance, principal component analysis, and logistic regression to evaluate the data. Results of the comparisons for exam scores, total course points, and student attitudes between the two forms of material are presented. Implications of these results are discussed as well as lessons learned for designing future experiments.


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