Improving Learning Outcomes with Self-Regulation Prompts, 07-R9683

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Principal Investigator
Jenifer L. Wheeler

Inclusive Dates:  01/12/07 – 01/31/08

Background - SwRI collaborated with the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative to study the effects of self-regulation in web-based training (WBT) in a variety of domains. The objective of this IR&D was to replicate ADL's previous findings on the value of self-regulation in WBT using courseware designed for the Department of Defense. Specifically, the study assessed whether prompting self-regulation increased on-task cognition and enhanced performance across two WBT programs. Each program is briefly described below.

EXPRESS for Inventory Management Specialists/Material Managers (EXPRESS 200)
This course, developed by SwRI for a DOD customer, was designed to teach inventory management specialists and material managers how to use the EXPRESS material management software. The course has 20 lessons and is approximately eight hours long.

Use of Force
Developed by the DoD, this course is designed to teach military personnel the guidelines for appropriate use of force. The course includes eight lessons and is approximately one hour long.

Approach - The first step in conducting this study was to identify the courses that would incorporate the self-regulation prompts. After participating in preliminary discussions with ADL and learning about their specific needs for the study, the project team selected the courses described above (EXPRESS 200 and Use of Force). Both courses were designed for DOD audiences and represent diverse subject matter, increasing the chances of more informative results. The following tasks were conducted:

  • Incorporated self-regulation prompts: ADL provided a series of questions designed to prompt self-regulation in the study participants. The questions appeared to study participants in a text format during the course of their training. The project team created three versions of each course to address three different treatment groups.
  • Developed test instruments: One requirement of the study was to test students' progress as they advanced through the courses. Because of this requirement, Division 07 made some modifications to each course by adding multiple choice questions to the end of each lesson in both courses.
  • Administered the training: The goal of this project was to randomly assign at least 60 representatives of the target audience to six groups (at least 10 participants per group), including two treatment groups and one control group for each course.

Accomplishments - At project end, 18 students had either begun or completed EXPRESS 200. Issues with the customer's Learning Management System (LMS) delayed data collection for Use of Force. However, data collection for both courses is ongoing.

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