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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Effect of guidance on learning in independent study Kotaska, Janelyn Gail


The recent proliferation of individual methods of learning in continuing education coupled with the lack of research related to instructional methodology led to this investigation of the effect of guidance on the learning of adults using an independent learning packet. The present study tested two hypotheses: 1. Mean scores on a criterion post-test will be significantly higher for two groups who receive an independent learning packet than for a control group receiving no instruction. 2. Mean scores on a criterion post-test will be significantly higher for a group receiving an independent learning packet including a study guide than for a group receiving the same independent learning packet without a study guide. Thirty-five Registered Nurses volunteered to study an independent learning packet entitled "Meeting the Emotional Needs of the Hospitalized Preschool Child", and twenty-one nurses were obtained for the control group. The post-test only control group design consisted of eighteen nurses systematically assigned to treatment Group A who studied the independent learning packet with a study guide designed to provide guidance of thinking. Seventeen nurses were assigned to treatment Group B, who studied an alternative form of the independent learning packet without the study guide. Group C acted as the control group. The independent variable was the method of instruction and the dependent variable was achievement as measured by scores on a criterion-referenced post-test, which was completed by all three groups. The Mann Whitney U test applied to the scores of Group A and B combined versus Group C yielded a significant difference in the predicted direction beyond the .00003 level. The difference in mean scores of Groups A and B failed to achieve a significance of .05 when the t test was applied. Therefore, the first hypothesis was confirmed but the second was not accepted. Analysis of the distribution of six known personal characteristics suggested that Groups A and B were equivalent, but that Group C was different from the other two. Interaction of the method of instruction with, the place of employment and the method of instruction with educational preparation produced the only significant effects (p<.025) on test scores when analysis of variance was carried out. Although the null hypothesis, that guidance makes no difference, may be true, several sources of error variance were identified which could account for the results obtained. It was concluded that considerable learning can be achieved by studying an independent learning packet, but the study as conducted failed to detect any facilitating function served by guidance in the form of a study guide. The recommendation for replication of the study advised modification of the methodology to reduce possible sources of error variance.

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