The development and evaluation of an interactive computer-based training (CBT) module.

Lourens, S.

Published Online

Lourens, S. 2005. The development and evaluation of an interactive computer-based training (CBT) module. Unpublished Masters Thesis, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town.

The primary objective of this research was to establish whether or not an interactive multimedia Computer-Based Training (CBT) module could assist learners to gain an improved understanding of their learning material. CBT can be deployed as a mechanism of presenting learning material in a more original, interactive and structured way. Furthermore, CBT has the potential to enhance the learning experience of learners, and by providing stimulation to learn based on their preferred learning styles. It is of importance to note that external elements such as motivational, personal, and educational factors (e.g. previous experience of CBT and computer use) can influence learning. The secondary objective was to measure if learners will show a positive attitude/reaction towards CBT if applied to the COBOL programming language in a Development Software (DOS1) programme. A substantial number of learners fail DOS1 each year and it has become a requirement to improve the situation by enhancing learning experiences of such learners. Research has shown that learners using interactive multimedia CBT material attain a "learning advantage" over learners receiving classroom-based instruction. Little research however has been conducted in the application of CBT instruction in the teaching of programming languages.

The methods employed in this research include the development of a Macromedia Flash CBT module that supports various animations, and the evaluation of the module's effectiveness as a method for introducing learners to the COBOL programming language. Furthermore, the effects of CBT on learners' attitudes were evaluated. A summative evaluation was used in an online pre-test/post-test approach to determine the effectiveness of the module. After completion of the module, a formative approach was used and the experimental group was requested to complete an online questionnaire for evaluation of the CBT module and to determine the extent of their acceptance thereof. Results indicate that even though the experimental group (who made use of the CBT module) obtained a higher mean gain score than the control group (who received traditional classroom-based instruction), it proved to be insignificant. Gain scores between and within the two groups did not indicate any significant improvement. The results from this research returned that even though CBT instruction did not show a significant improvement in learner performance, it proved to be at least as effective or equivalent to traditional instruction. Furthermore, results show that CBT lead to improved learning motivation and contributed to a positive attitude towards teaching the COBOL programming language.
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