Multimedia instructional tools and student learning in computer applications courses

Debra Laier Chapman, University of Southern Mississippi


Advances in technology and changes in educational strategies have resulted in the integration of technology into the classroom. Multimedia instructional tools (MMIT) have been identified as a way to provide student-centered active-learning instructional material to students. MMITs are common in introductory computer applications courses based on the theory that this type of educational tool should be effective in increasing student knowledge and result in positive changes to motivation and the learning strategies used in the course. The purpose of this study was to examine the use of the MMIT in an introductory computer applications course to determine if there was a significant relationship between the level of use of the MMIT and student knowledge. Additionally, motivation and learning strategies were examined to determine if the use of the MMIT resulted in a change in students' motivation and learning strategies within the computer applications course. Study participants included 404 students enrolled in an online introductory computer applications course at one southeastern university. Data were collected by using the student activity and gradebook reports available through the MMIT. This allowed the researcher to use descriptive statistics to demonstrate students' use of the MMIT and use the pre and post-course test scores to determine the change in student knowledge over the course of the research study. Motivation and learning strategies were evaluated using the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). Students completed this questionnaire at the beginning of the semester before use of the MMIT and again at the end of the semester. MANOVAs were used to analyze the data for each of the 15 motivation and learning strategies scales of the MSQL survey and the level of MMIT use for the different activity types to determine if a change in motivation or learning strategies occurred. Findings from this study revealed no significant impact on student knowledge based on the level of use of the MMIT grader assignments or training activities. A significant difference was found based on the level of use of the MMIT quizzes. The motivation and learning strategies data indicated a significant impact on three motivational scales, task value, self-efficacy of learning and performance, and test anxiety in relation to the MMIT grader assignments. There was no significant change in any of the other three motivation strategies scales or any of the nine learning strategies scales or in relation to the training activities or quizzes.