The Impact of an Interactive Multimedia Instructional Tool on the Quality of Learning for Optometry Students

Grant Winners

  • Ling Wang, Ph.D. – Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences
  • Bai-chuan Jiang, Ph.D. – College of Optometry

Deans

  • Edward Lieblein – Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences
  • David Loshin – College of Optometry

Abstract

2004 Faculty Research and Development Grant Award Winner.

As multimedia teaching technologies become more widely advocated and employed in higher education, researchers strive to understand the influence of such technologies on student learning. For the most part, studies suggest that advanced technologies are indeed beneficial to students (Welsh & Null, 1991). However, there are also some studies that found no significant differences between multimedia classes and traditional classes (Lee, Gillan, & Harrison, 1996). This study will use a pretest-posttest control group experimental design to investigate the effect of "virtual labs," a multimedia instructional tool, on first-year optometry students' perceptions of learning process and objective learning outcomes. Approximately 105 participants will be randomly assigned into the three experimental conditions, namely, traditional lab, traditional and virtual labs combined, and virtual lab. The section assigned to traditional lab condition will serve as the control group. A diagnostic test will be used as the pretest to determine if there are any differences among the three sections to begin with. A cumulative exam will be used to assess the objective learning outcomes at the end of the study. A reflective evaluation consisting of students' self-ratings, on 5-point Likert scales, of how they perceive the learning process in the lab work will also be completed at the beginning and the end of the study. The analysis of the data collected will determine the differences in students' objective learning outcomes and perceptions of learning process among three lab sections. The findings of this study will further educators' understanding of the effect of multimedia technologies on students' learning quality.