Reference: Flowers, C., Hancock, D. & Joyner, R (2000). "Effects of Instructional Strategies and Conceptual Levels on Students' Motivation and Achievement in a Technology Course". Journal of Research and Development in Education. 33(3), 187-194.
Principle: The researchers in this study examined low and high conceptual-level students achievement and motivation in a college computer technology course. The students were exposed to direct and indirect styles of instruction.
Type of Design: This study is a design 4, Pretest-Posttest Control Group Design (according to the Campbell and Stanley textbook). Illustratively, the design looks like this:
R O1 X O2
R O3 X O4
Two groups were randomly assigned and exposed to either direct instruction or indirect instruction. The students were classified as either low or high conceptual students according to an assessment test. Achievement and motivation were measured using different types of evaluation tools.
Factors Jeopardizing Internal Validity: History; the students were randomly assigned and individually assessed. Maturation, instrumentation, and testing; each group was exposed to five weeks of instruction and the testing tools were evaluated to be valid. Statistical regression; mean scores of the participants. Selection; the students were randomly assigned. Mortality; regular attendance was a part of the study.
Factors Jeopardizing External Validity: The testing tools were considered valid through a review of the literature. Eighty-two percent of the sample group was female. All of the participants had elected to take the computer technology course.
Adequacy of Statistical Procedures Used: Means, standard deviations, and ANOVA's were calculated to evaluate the interactions.
Briefly Summarize Logic: According to the results of this study, the authors believe high conceptual level students demonstrated higher motivation and achievement levels using indirect instruction. As the authors write, these findings may not replicate to other fields of study. This technology course was technical in nature. Students in this course may be use to self-directed learning. Many computer skills can be self-taught. Therefore, the indirect style of instruction may seem natural to this sample group.
Design Improvement: The sample size should be larger than sixty-five participants. A gender difference may not have been considered. Eighty-two percent of the group was female. The achievement test needs more analysis. It was designed by the researchers and not tested for reliability prior to the study. The course objectives were used to develop the test questions. The questions should be reviewed to discuss gender and cultural issues. Also, a pen-and-pencil test may not be the best assessment tool in a technology course that uses a more "hands-on" approach. The assessment test may not match the mode of instruction.
Extension of the Study: This study could be compared to similar studies in other academic fields to reveal if the findings are replicated. A study could be done to understand if "non-technical" students prefer indirect styles of instructions.