Use of an interactive CD-ROM as a learning resource and its effect on student outcome in first year human biology

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Quality Conversations Vol. 25

July, 2002, 794 pages
Published by
Tony Herrington
ISBN
0 908557 54 X
Abstract 

The large classes found in many first year university units present the challenge of maintaining student access to valuable material in the face of increasing student diversity. The development of a self-paced, interactive, computer-based learning resource was designed to provide the flexible delivery necessary to address these challenges of the large class environment. The Primate Biology program, an interactive CD-ROM, was fully implemented into a first year human biology unit in 2001. A student survey was designed to evaluate the Primate Biology CD as a learning resource. The aim was to evaluate student usage of the Primate Biology CD, to gain an understanding of their subjective attitudes towards the program and to find out whether use of the CD influenced student outcome. Of the 479 first year students enrolled in Human Biology 100, 345 (72%) participated in the study. The Primate Biology CD was used at least once by 218 (63%) of these students. Generally students expressed a favourable attitude towards the CD. Students used a wide range of features on the Primate Biology CD, which varied according to where the CD was accessed. The results showed that use of the Primate Biology CD was related to student outcome on the primate biology assessment. This effect was found to be independent of the student’s general ability in the area of human biology, which suggests the CD has a real effect on student outcome. The active learning environment generated by the Primate Biology CD’s interactive features may be an essential element in its positive influence on student performance.

Keywords: interactive CD-ROM, evaluation, student outcomes

Use of an interactive CD-ROM as a learning resource and its effect on student outcome in first year human biology

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Coall, D.