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The Impact of Computer Based Instruction on Knowledge and Motivation to Learn about the Underground Railroad

, Walden University, United States

Walden University . Awarded


African American middle school students lack adequate knowledge and understanding of political, economic, cultural, and social complexities associated with the Underground Railroad (UGRR). This study is important to educators concerned with using technology to present complex historical topics. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether using computer based instruction (CBI) relative to text based instruction (TBI) impacted learning and motivation to learn about the UGRR. The theories of Bruner and Lennenbrink and Pintrich provided the theoretical framework. The research questions for this quasi-experimental/evaluative study focused on how CBI impacted middle school students' learning about the UGRR and how CBI compared with TBI to impact middle school students' motivation to learn about the UGRR. A convenience sample of students in the 5th to 8th grades completed the pretests and posttests with N = 55 for the Middle School Students' Contextual Learning Inventory and N = 44 for the Children's Academic Intrinsic Motivation Inventory. Data were analyzed using ANOVA and independent samples t tests. Results indicated no significant evidence to prefer CBI to TBI when teaching about the UGRR at the middle school level. It is recommended that future research focus on qualitative methodologies to involve the researcher in observing classroom events and surveying teachers and students. The results contribute to positive social change by supporting CBI as effective a learning tool as traditional instructional methods in middle school for learning about the UGRR. The implication is that positive social change results when educators design and implement well developed, theoretically based UGRR lessons for middle school students.


Cope, D. The Impact of Computer Based Instruction on Knowledge and Motivation to Learn about the Underground Railroad. Ph.D. thesis, Walden University. Retrieved July 29, 2021 from .

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