This Entry Reviews the following Journal Article:
Fong, S. F., Por, F. P., & Tang, A. L. (2012). Effects of Multiple Simulation Presentation among Students of Different Anxiety Levels in the Learning of Probability. Turkish Online Journal Of Educational Technology - TOJET, 11(3), 105-114.
Data Synopsis: A Comparison of Multiple Simulation Presentation and Single Simulation Presentation learning among Students of Different Anxiety Levels
This article explores the effects of two types of learning presentation modes: Multiple Simulation Presentation (MSP) and Single Simulation Presentation (SSP) upon a group of 70 Malaysian teenage students in five Probability classes. The hypotheses made expected that students would achieve better results when taught in a Multiple Simulation Presentation mode. However, the opposite proved to be true in this study.
The researchers of this study based their assumptions on several well-known educational design knowledge leaders whose names I recognized from studies in my previous coursework. The accurately described Gagne’s information Processing Model and also quoted Mayer, using his research to inform the basis for understanding the active learning process and the limits of working memory.
Mathematical experts create the questions on their pre- and post-tests for the students and a math teacher was used to administer the tests and to collect the data.
The researcher checked the validity of the test questions to see if those instruments accurately assessed the knowledge of the students.
A pilot test was conducted to verify validity using 25 students before the real test was administered.
The standard statistical tools such as the ANOVA and ANCOVA were used conscientiously to avoid inaccurate results in the findings.
The authors adequately described the differences between MSP and SSP modes via the following diagrams:
MSP Mode Example
This example shows at least three visual graphs on one screen simultaneously.
SSP Mode Example
This example shows a single graph on one screen.
However, the language regarding the results was sometimes confusing. As a layperson, I had to re-read paragraphs to interpret whether a low score meant a low anxiety score or a low score on the probability content of the pre- and post-tests. It was somewhat confusing.
The blank graph shown when the research design was explained was straightforward and I looked forward to seeing it filled out later in the article.
Unfortunately, it never materialized, and the results were shown in much more complex graphs that emphasized statistical formulas that were beyond easy understanding.
The researchers administered the Trait Anxiety Test to students and used those results to categorize the students into three different groups based on their levels of anxiety. I did not get any references that confirmed for me that anxiety scores should be differentiated into three levels.
All three hypotheses were proven wrong. They hypothesized that students, especially those with high anxiety would perform better if given the multiple simulation presentations rather than single ones. They found the opposite to be true. All students, especially those in the high anxiety group did better on their tests if give the single simulation presentations.
Upon reviewing the findings, the researchers found literature to support these results. They even concluded accurately that the SSP method is a better method to teach this subject (Probability).
This article should be studied by instructional designers and teachers who design courses in abstract subjects. Presentations that are overly complex are detrimental to learning and can overwhelm cognitive load when learning.
Online teachers and those who use a lot of visual presentations could benefit from a review of this article.
Although the researchers’ hypotheses were proven wrong, the article was written with no obvious bias and handled with professional grace. This was an excellent resource for me as a student of academic investigations. It was a great example of a well concluded study where the results were completely unexpected by the investigators.