The effects of a computer drill and practice program and a computer simulation program on students' content acquisition and retention scores
Hulett, Sharon Ziegler
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This study was designed to investigate the effects of a computer drill and practice program and a computer simulation program on students' content acquisition and retention scores. The researcher's review, of the literature revealed disagreement as to the effectiveness of using a simulation approach for content acquisition. Very little information was found on the effectiveness of the drill and practice approach. Fourth grade students at Emerson Elementary School, Bozeman, Montana, were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups for instructional computing lessons in science-related material. The treatment groups were: 1.) drill and practice done individually (DP), 2.) simulation done individually (SI), and 3.) simulation done in a group of three (SG). Analysis of a pretest administered before treatment indicated that the treatment groups were equivalent. Treatment consisted of two ten-minute instructional computing sessions. A posttest was administered immediately following each student's second round of treatment. The retention test was administered two weeks after the posttest. Results of the data analysis indicated that students in all . three treatment groups showed significantly higher scores after treatment and retention. As there were no other apparent experiences with the subject matter at that time, it is reasonable to conclude that these gains were a result of the two ten-minute treatment sessions. Comparisons of gain scores between each treatment group were made to determine if any treatment was superior. A significant difference between the pretest to posttest gain scores of the DP and SI treatment groups was observed. This difference favored the SI treatment technique. No differences were observed on any other gain score comparisons between treatment groups'. The researcher concluded that all three instructional computing techniques were effective in promoting content acquisition and retention. The SI treatment appeared to be more effective than the DP treatment for promoting content acquisition. It is also evident that learning occurred even with the brief time on task allocated each of these instructional computing techniques.