Four different computer-based media combinations - Text-only, Text + Diagrams,
Spoken Text + Diagrams, and Text + Video material - have been created to instruct
participants how to carry out the practical task of removing and installing both a video
card and a CPU chip in a computer system. The four presentations are based upon identical teaching material. Tests were constructed to measure the amount of knowledge gained both in the theoretical and in the practical parts of the experiment. An interactive facility was provided which allowed participants to move forwards and backwards in the material so that the effects of interactivity (or lack of it) could be investigated in relation to the media combinations used. In addition, student learning style was measured and the effects of the four presentations on students with different learning styles were investigated. A practical domain was chosen because most previous work has mainly
been on theoretical domains (such as statistics) or on animated examples of simple systems (such as braking systems). Two experiments have been designed and carried out. The first experiment was a pilot study which used 24 participants. Its results were used to improve the design of the second experiment by improving the material presented and the knowledge tests and adjusting the complexity of the questions used in the test. The second experiment was a more extensive one in which 80 participants took part. These results showed that text-only material was not as effective in delivering the teaching material to the participants compared with the other presentations. However, when interactivity was introduced, the text-only participants were able to improve their performance considerably by moving extensively between scenes. The addition of video material did not improve the learning performance in the completion of the practical tasks, in comparison with the other media combinations and this may have been due to a redundancy effect. Finally, learning style (regarding the sensing/intuitive learners) did
result in significant learning performance differences, but these were not due to the media combinations used. An examination of performance of sensing and intuitive learners over the theoretical and practical aspects of the test suggested that the difference may be due to intuitors' preference for theoretical material and sensors' preference for practical
Further research work is proposed to investigate further the effects observed.
Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.