Evaluation of a Computer-Based, Asynchronous Activity on Student Learning of Leadership Concepts

May 6, 2003

Educators require a variety of delivery methods to maintain students’ motivation and attention,

and to address different learning styles (Born & Miller, 1999). Vehicles that can reinforce

cognitive knowledge and provide students the opportunity to put theory into practice include

simulations, role-play, and games. Alessi and Trollip (1991) provide five major types of

computer-based instructional programs: tutorials, drills, simulations, instructional games, and

tests. Computer-based multimedia gives instructional designers the tools of animation, video,

and sound to provide learners with working models that convey complex concepts. The purpose

of this study was to ascertain if the use of an asynchronously delivered simulation activity to

teach leadership styles and ethics theory would improve learning. The study employed a quasiexperimental

design with a non-equivalent control group. Comparison of student performance

on selected examination questions revealed that the treatment group (N=83) answered 9% more

questions correctly than did the control group (N=113). In addition, students in the treatment

group performed significantly better on examination questions written at the knowledge,

comprehension, and analysis levels based on Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Objectives:

Cognitive Domain (Bloom, 1956). Students in the treatment group performed equally well,

regardless of learning preference (visual, aural, kinesthetic or multi-modal). It was concluded

that computer-based simulations have the ability to improve student learning of leadership

concepts at higher cognitive levels while allowing students to apply theory to real world


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