The effects of computer simulation versus hands-on dissection and the placement of computer simulation within the learning cycle on student achievement and attitude
Kathryn Susan Hopkins, Baylor University, United States
Baylor University . Awarded
The value of dissection as an instructional strategy has been debated, but not evidenced in research literature. The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of using computer simulated frog dissection as a substitute for traditional hands-on frog dissection and to examine the possible enhancement of achievement by combining the two strategies in a specific sequence.
In this study, 134 biology students at two Central Texas schools were divided into the five following treatment groups: computer simulation of frog dissection, computer simulation before dissection, traditional hands-on frog dissection, dissection before computer simulation, and textual worksheet materials. The effects on achievement were evaluated by labeling 10 structures on three diagrams, identifying 11 pinned structures on a prosected frog, and answering 9 multiple-choice questions over the dissection process. Attitude was evaluated using a thirty item survey with a five-point Likert scale.
The quasi-experimental design was pretest/post-test/post-test nonequivalent group for both control and experimental groups, a 2 x 2 x 5 completely randomized factorial design (gender, school, five treatments). The pretest/post-test design was incorporated to control for prior knowledge using analysis of covariance.
The dissection only group evidenced a significantly higher performance than all other treatments except dissection-then-computer on the post-test segment requiring students to label pinned anatomical parts on a prosected frog. Interactions between treatment and school in addition to interaction between treatment and gender were found to be significant. The diagram and attitude post-tests evidenced no significant difference. Results on the nine multiple-choice questions about dissection procedures indicated a significant difference between schools. The interaction between treatment and school was also found to be significant. On a delayed post-test, a significant difference in gender was found on the diagram labeling segment of the post-test. Males were reported to have the higher score.
Since existing research conflicts with this study's results, additional research using authentic assessment is recommended. Instruction should be aligned with dissection content and process objectives for each treatment group, and the teacher variable should be controlled.
Hopkins, K.S. The effects of computer simulation versus hands-on dissection and the placement of computer simulation within the learning cycle on student achievement and attitude. Ph.D. thesis, Baylor University.
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