Table 1. Description of the Independent Variable
|Learner Participation||Lesson Advancement|
|Programmed instruction||Active||Program controlled|
|Cued-text and graphics||Passive||Learner controlled|
“passive” Cued-Text and Graphics. Inherent in each of the two methods of web-based presentation are distinct levels of learner participation and control of lesson advancement. For the present experiment, programmed instruction represents “active” learner participation and “program advanced” lesson material. Learner participation in the Cued-Text and Graphics presentation is distinguished by “passive” reading of the lesson material and “learner advanced” lesson materials. Table 1 describes the relationship between the conditions, as well as the learner participation and lesson control assumptions in the independent variable.
To evaluate the relation between instructional method and performance, two dependent variables were identified in this study. Both dependent variables were assessment results. The first was a computer-based posttest that measured the student's retention of the lesson material, and the other was a learned skill application that appraised the student's ability to utilize the skill sets learned by actually assessing a set of data and presenting it graphically as taught by the lesson.
This research expounds upon theories of learning stemming from an experimental science. To make use of the rapidly growing field of web-based distance learning, the focus was to identify and validate a crucial component of interactive computer-programmed instruction. The study centered on a fundamental research question: