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The use of instructional simulations to support classroom teaching: a crisis communication case study.



The purpose of this study was to investigate how exposure to classroom instruction affected the use of a computer simulation The mathematical representation of the interaction of real-world objects. See scientific application and simulator.
Simulation

A broad collection of methods used to study and analyze the behavior and performance of actual or theoretical systems.
 that was designed to provide students an opportunity to apply material presented in class. The study involved an analysis of a computer-based crisis communication case study designed for a college-level public relations public relations, activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most  course, comparing students taking the course with students having no public relations exposure. The results showed that while the total scores were almost identical for both groups, there were differences in the types of questions the groups tended to score higher on. Also, there were differences in how each group navigated through the simulation. Differences in learning styles had a greater impact on those without public relations exposure than those taking the public relations class. The results indicate that instructional simulation instructional simulation Graduation education A simulation used to help students acquire knowledge and skills through surrogate experiences; simulation success hinges on the degree to which it resembles a real experience  designers need to account for the influence that classroom instruction will have on student performance during these types of simulations.

**********

The use of computer-based simulations for supporting classroom teaching has interested educators This is a list of educators. See also: Education, List of education topics.
External link:

General
Category:
 in many fields of study. As software applications become more sophisticated, teachers are finding more opportunities to create case-based studies that present students with more "realistic" settings in which to apply what they have learned during class instruction. The use of animation animation

Process of giving the illusion of movement to drawings, models, or inanimate objects. From the mid-1850s, such optical devices as the zoetrope produced the illusion of animation. Stop-action photography enabled the production of cartoon films.
, audio, and video elements that can respond to specific user feedback has given instructors tools that can create complex environments that mimic real-life real-life  
adj.
Actually happening or having happened; not fictional: a documentary with footage of real-life police chases. 
 situations.

The use of computer-based simulations for instruction has been widely promoted because of the opportunities it provides for students to apply knowledge they have acquired in the class. As Jonassen, Campbell Campbell, city, United States
Campbell, city (1990 pop. 36,048), Santa Clara co., W Calif., in the fertile Santa Clara valley; founded 1885, inc. 1952.
, and Davidson Da·vid·son   , Jo(seph) 1883-1952.

American sculptor best remembered for his vigorous portrait busts of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Albert Einstein, among others.
 (1994) noted, "According to according to
prep.
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

3.
 contemporary theories of learning,... learning is most effectively situated in the context of some meaningful, real-world task" (p.32).

Hoffman and Ritchie Ritchie as a name is a surname, and may also occur as a given name or diminutive. It may refer to:
  • Albert Ritchie, governor of Maryland, 1920-35
  • Allison Ritchie
  • Andrew Jackson Ritchie
  • Andy Ritchie, English footballer (b.
 (1997) pointed out that interactive multimedia provide an important advantage to case studies in that they allow the simulation of real life that can break the student out of time, place, and physical limitations that make many case studies impractical im·prac·ti·cal  
adj.
1. Unwise to implement or maintain in practice: Refloating the sunken ship proved impractical because of the great expense.

2.
 for the classroom. The ability to condense con·dense  
v. con·densed, con·dens·ing, con·dens·es

v.tr.
1. To reduce the volume or compass of.

2. To make more concise; abridge or shorten.

3. Physics
a.
 time is a particularly important function in many case studies that require students to make decisions based on information that is presented to them at particular points in time. In simulating real-world scenarios, students are placed in situations where they are faced with making decisions when given incomplete or even inaccurate information; a situation faced by many professionals in many fields.

Over the past several years, a number of studies have been conducted, which have examined the effectiveness of computer-based case studies in the form of instructional simulations. Lee (1999) conducted a metaanalysis metaanalysis (meˈ·t-·naˑ·l  of research studies involving instructional simulations to determine what factors influence their effectiveness. Lee's study focused on two different instructional modes of simulation. The practice mode is one where simulation users are first exposed to a body of knowledge through traditional instruction and then asked to apply that knowledge during tasks presented in the simulation. In the presentation mode, the simulation is meant to be a source of both instruction and practice opportunities for the student. The simulation itself is presented to students in either a pure form (no guidance) or a hybrid hybrid (hī`brĭd), term applied by plant and animal breeders to the offspring of a cross between two different subspecies or species, and by geneticists to the offspring of parents differing in any genetic characteristic (see genetics).  form (some guidance). The results from Lee's analysis of several studies led to a number of conclusions, one of which was that the hybrid form of the simulation tended to work best, especially when used in the presentation mode. In general, the study suggests that simulations are more effective when users are given some level of guidance.

While it is important that research efforts be conducted to examine the influence of factors such as instructional modes, two important factors involving instructional simulations are often left out. In developing a study of instructional simulations, emphasis is most often placed on designing a simulation that fits the research design at the expense of providing a realistic case study for students in a particular class for a particular field of study. Less attention is paid to how a student will respond to a simulation that is built to support what is being taught in the class. The focus is more on the simulation than on the user. This leaves a number of questions as to how students will respond to a simulation if there is information available both through the class and through the simulation. Which resource are they most likely to use? Will they make assumptions about how to respond in the simulation based on classroom instruction that may lead them to miss important resources in the simulation? Jonassen et al. (1994) stated,
    Perhaps the major failing of instructional systems technology
    research has been the lack of concern with the effects of context.
    We test treatments on unsuspecting and often unwilling subjects who
    have no interest or need to know about the content embedded within
    our treatments. That instruction and media exist in and rely upon
    their surrounding context is usually ignored. (p.32)


Another factor concerns how the simulation provides guidance to users. All simulations may not fit easily into either the pure or the hybrid form. While a simulation may provide information that is helpful or even vital to a student in making a decision during the simulation, the way that information is presented may not be expository ex·po·si·tion  
n.
1. A setting forth of meaning or intent.

2.
a. A statement or rhetorical discourse intended to give information about or an explanation of difficult material.

b.
 instruction. In fact, whether the simulation is viewed as either pure or hybrid could be determined by the user and how they respond to it. As the simulation becomes more complex in its attempts to mimic a real-life situation, it places a greater burden on the user, in terms of, not only making the correct decisions but in determining what resources to use in making those decisions. If instructional simulations are to be used in either mode of instruction (presentation or practice) an important element to examine would be the context in which users are exposed to that simulation.

This article presents an overview of the research literature concerning studies that have attempted to determine how users will respond to case studies presented in a computer-mediated form. Special focus is placed on those characteristics of computer-mediated case studies that are inherent in most instructional simulations. The results of a study comparing the performances of students enrolled in a class for which the simulation was designed with a group of students not enrolled in the class and having no prior experience with the subject matter in the simulation is discussed. Attention will be given to the performance of the two groups as well as how they navigated through the simulation. The article will conclude with a discussion of areas where future research in this area of study might be directed, what the implications are for instructional simulation designers and some general thoughts on how the simulation impacted students in this particular class.

LITERATURE REVIEW

An important factor to consider when examining how effective an instructional simulation will be is the means by which a user navigates through the simulation and accesses information along the way. Nearly all computer-based simulations are built using a hypermedia hypermedia: see hypertext.


The use of hyperlinks, regular text, graphics, audio and video to provide an interactive, multimedia presentation. All the various elements are linked, enabling the user to move from one to another.
 design that provides a means for students to navigate (1) "Surfing the Web." To move from page to page on the Web.

(2) To move through the menu structure in a software application.
 through the study. Hypermedia systems Noun 1. hypermedia system - a multimedia system in which related items of information are connected and can be presented together
hypermedia, interactive multimedia, interactive multimedia system
 are what allow simulations to create realistic environments because they provide an opportunity for students to make a variety of choices and conceivably con·ceive  
v. con·ceived, con·ceiv·ing, con·ceives

v.tr.
1. To become pregnant with (offspring).

2.
 choose a variety of directions with which to proceed through a simulation. Many scholars see hypermedia systems as particularly useful for fields of study defined as "ill-structured" domains of knowledge. This is due to the belief that a hypermedia environment promotes the construction of knowledge that is easier to transfer to novel situations than knowledge developed through more traditional (linear) methods of instruction (Jonassen, Abruso, & Olesen, 1992; Spiro, Feltovich, Jacobson Jacobson is a surname with several variants. Some people with this name include:
  • Amy Jacobson Television reporter for WMAQ News in Chicago
  • Bill Jacobson (born 1955), an American photographer
  • Carl Robert Jakobson (1841-1882), Estonian writer and teacher
, & Coulson Coulson is a surname, and may refer to
  • Andy Coulson, British politician and former newspaper editor.
  • Bob Coulson, American baseball player
  • Catherine E. Coulson, American actress
  • Charles Coulson, British theoretical chemist
, 1991). Chen and Rada RADA (in Britain) Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

RADA (Brit) n abbr (= Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) → Schauspielschule
 (1996) indicated that research studies suggest hypermedia instruction is better suited for complex (open) tasks than more traditional approaches to instruction. Iiyoshi and Hannafin (1998) argued that hypermedia promotes more open-ended o·pen-end·ed
adj.
1. Not restrained by definite limits, restrictions, or structure.

2. Allowing for or adaptable to change.

3.
 learning as students develop their own strategies and sequences of learning.

Other scholars believe that hypermedia may actually inhibit inhibit /in·hib·it/ (in-hib´it) to retard, arrest, or restrain.

in·hib·it
v.
1. To hold back; restrain.

2.
 learning because of the additional challenges they present students. With the use of hypermedia in computer applications for case studies comes the added responsibility of working with the application as well as working through the case study. A number of researchers have raised concerns regarding hypermedia instruction due to the additional burdens that are placed on a student's cognitive cog·ni·tive
adj.
1. Of, characterized by, involving, or relating to cognition.

2. Having a basis in or reducible to empirical factual knowledge.
 processing. McKerlie and Preece Preece is a surname, and may refer to:
  • Andy Preece
  • David Preece
  • David Preece (footballer b. 1963)
  • Jenny Preece
  • Rob Preece
  • Steve Preece
  • Tim Preece
  • Warren E.
 (1993) argued that hypermedia places more demands on a user's memory. Freedom of choice can create confusing con·fuse  
v. con·fused, con·fus·ing, con·fus·es

v.tr.
1.
a. To cause to be unable to think with clarity or act with intelligence or understanding; throw off.

b.
 experiences for students because it increases decision making. This can be compounded by easily accessible information, which is peripherally relevant to the task at hand (Paolucci, 1998). In analyzing existing research on hypermedia learning contained in several studies. Chen and Dwyer Dwyer may refer to: People with the Surname Dwyer
  • Alice Dwyer German Actress
  • Bernard Dwyer, rugby player
  • Bernard J. Dwyer, U.S. politician
  • Bil Dwyer, American comedian
  • Bill Dwyer, US gangster and prohibition bootlegger
 (2003) concluded, "... there is little empirical em·pir·i·cal
adj.
1. Relying on or derived from observation or experiment.

2. Verifiable or provable by means of observation or experiment.

3.
 evidence showing that a hypermedia learning environment improves learning outcomes" (p. 144).

Besides the additional cognitive load Cognitive Load is a term (used in Educational psychology and other fields of study) that refers to the load on working memory during problem solving, thinking and reasoning (including perception, memory, language, etc.).  placed on students in a hypermedia learning environment, there is the additional factor of the learner's ability and motivation to take advantage of all the instructional elements that are available. McKnight, Richardson Richardson, city (1990 pop. 74,840), Dallas and Collins counties, N Tex., a suburb of Dallas; founded in the 1850s, inc. as a city 1956. Richardson manufactures telecommunications equipment, medical devices, supercomputers, computer chips, and fiber optics. , and Dillon Dillon may refer to: People
  • Dillon (surname)
Dillon is the given name of:
  • Dillon Anderson (1906–1974)
  • Dillon Bell (1822–1898), a New Zealand politician of the late 19th century
Places
 (1990) contended that the majority of students are not able to set learning objectives for themselves and autonomously evaluate their performance in relation to the study. Horney Hor·ney   , Karen Danielsen 1885-1952.

German-born American psychoanalyst who emphasized the role of environmental and cultural factors in the development of neurosis.
 (1993) found that students tend not to view all links available to them suggesting that simulation users might miss important information if they are not motivated mo·ti·vate  
tr.v. mo·ti·vat·ed, mo·ti·vat·ing, mo·ti·vates
To provide with an incentive; move to action; impel.



mo
, if they are uncomfortable with the application or if they assume they have all the information necessary to perform a specific task.

Many of the studies looking at hypermedia instruction, including simulations, have discussed how hypermedia is best-suited for specific types of instruction, such as open-ended instruction. However, if an instructional simulation is to create a realistic scenario, it would contain elements of both open-ended and closed-ended Closed-ended may refer to:
  • Closed-ended fund
  • Closed-ended question
 instruction. Sometimes a student must make a decision based on very specific facts. Other times the student may be called upon to extrapolate extrapolate - extrapolation  an answer based on a variety of information sources. Also, the form in which information that is used for answering questions or making decisions in the simulation is often presented in a way that is meant to fit with a specific case study and not in the form it would exist in a real-world setting. In many case analyses, the information provided is condensed con·dense  
v. con·densed, con·dens·ing, con·dens·es

v.tr.
1. To reduce the volume or compass of.

2. To make more concise; abridge or shorten.

3. Physics
a.
 and filtered by the case writer, diminishing di·min·ish  
v. di·min·ished, di·min·ish·ing, di·min·ish·es

v.tr.
1.
a. To make smaller or less or to cause to appear so.

b.
 the student's ability to experience and explore the problem in a realistic setting (Small, 1994).

If the simulation is to be used as a way to apply knowledge from traditional instruction then it is important to see how a student would use the simulation with this knowledge available. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently
, is there a difference in how the student would work through the simulation based on having prior knowledge of the subject versus having to rely solely on the simulation for information? Studies have shown that in general, hypermedia instruction is more effective with individuals who have a higher level of prior knowledge of the subject. Students with prior subject matter knowledge are better able to generate terms that may be relevant to their search for information regarding a specific topic and evaluate the veracity veracity (vras´itē),
n
 of that information once it is found (Chen & Dwyer, 2003; Hill & Hanafin, 1997). However, the research also suggests that hypermedia users may have a tendency not to look at all the resources that are available to them. Would this tendency be magnified by students who felt they could rely on their existing knowledge of the topic leading them to miss important resources in the simulation?

An additional factor that must be considered is the role that individual approaches to learning play in the effectiveness of students in open-ended, hypermedia environments. Scholars in a number of studies (Boles & Pillay, 1999, Chou Chou (jō), dynasty of China, which ruled from c.1027 B.C. to 256 B.C. The pastoral Chou people migrated from the Wei valley NW of the Huang He c.1027 B.C. and overthrew the Shang dynasty. The Chou built their capital near modern Xi'an in 1027 B.C.  & Lin Lin   , Maya Ying Born 1959.

American sculptor and architect whose public works include the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. (1982).

Noun 1.
, 1998; Melara, 1996) contend that individual learning styles will influence how a student will work in a hypermedia environment and how successful they will be in accomplishing certain tasks.

The research presents a number of factors that may influence how students will perform with an instructional simulation. The purpose of this study was to analyze an·a·lyze
v.
1. To examine methodically by separating into parts and studying their interrelations.

2. To separate a chemical substance into its constituent elements to determine their nature or proportions.

3.
 the effect that factors associated with the context of a class experience may have on a simulation's effectiveness.

THE STUDY

For this study, a comparison of simulation performance was made between students enrolled in a college-level course for which the simulation was designed and students who had no prior exposure to the subject matter. The top priority in developing the simulation was making it fit with the goals established by the class instructor and making it as realistic as possible within the subject matter. As a result, the nature of tasks that students would perform varied from simple fact-finding fact-find·ing
n.
Discovery or determination of facts or accurate information.

adj.
Of, relating to, or used in the discovery or determination of facts: a fact-finding committee; a fact-finding tour.
 to high levels of abstract thinking based on the types of questions that had to be addressed.

The simulation was developed for a first level public relations course at a small midwestern university The P.A. Program is a 2-year program that starts in the summer. The D.O.,Pharm D., and Psy.D are 4-year programs. The D.O. degree is the legal and professional equivalent of the M.D. . The specific topic of the simulation involved a crisis communication case study. This subject is well suited for this type of simulation because part of the training that students receive for this subject involves making decisions based on limited information that may or may not be accurate. It also involves sorting through several sources of information in order to make decisions.

The 19 students enrolled in the public relations class made up the group who had been exposed to the subject matter in the context of an actual class. The simulation was given near the end of the semester se·mes·ter  
n.
One of two divisions of 15 to 18 weeks each of an academic year.



[German, from Latin (cursus) s
, shortly after students had completed a section on crisis communication. One student was not able to take the simulation and another student's results were dropped because of the difficulty she had with English 1. English - (Obsolete) The source code for a program, which may be in any language, as opposed to the linkable or executable binary produced from it by a compiler. The idea behind the term is that to a real hacker, a program written in his favourite programming language is  as her second language.

The group representing those not exposed to the subject matter consisted of 14 students who were not enrolled in the public relations class who volunteered to take the simulation. These students came from a variety of majors across the university with the only stipulation An agreement between attorneys that concerns business before a court and is designed to simplify or shorten litigation and save costs.

During the course of a civil lawsuit, criminal proceeding, or any other type of litigation, the opposing attorneys may come to an agreement
 being that they had not taken any courses involving public relations and had not been exposed to any material involving crisis communication.

During the simulation students were placed in the role of a public relations professional whose organization is facing a crisis. As the student progressed through the simulation they had to filter information that may or may not have been correct or may not have been complete. Files containing various information were available to students at all times within the simulation, which they could use to help answer questions. The files that were present were considered resources that would commonly be available to professionals involved in such a scenario. The files were presented in the form of office memos and documents to put the information in as realistic a context as possible. As a result, these documents were not necessarily catered to this specific crisis but were more general in nature to appear more authentic AUTHENTIC. This term signifies an original of which there is no doubt. . This often meant that students needed to filter through this information to find what was relevant.

The computer software used to build the simulation was Macromedia (Macromedia, Inc., San Francisco, CA, www.macromedia.com) A software company specializing in multimedia authoring tools that was acquired by Adobe Systems, Inc. in mid-2005. It was founded in 1992 by the merger of Authorware, Inc., which was founded in 1984, and MacroMind-Paracomp.  Director. The interface of the simulation presented an office setting viewed from behind the character the student was portraying (see Figure 1 for an example). The documents containing information students could access to help answer questions during the study were accessible through a menu simulating desk drawers labeled with six categories of information (Table 1). When students began the study, they were told that the documents contained information that would be important for answering questions in a printed questionnaire questionnaire,
n a series of questions used to gather information.

questionnaire,
n a form usually filled out by patients that provides data concerning their dental and general health.
 that they received before starting the simulation. The student was then provided a guided tour guided tour guide nvisite guidée;
what time does the guided tour start? → la visite guidée commence à quelle heure? 
 through each of the six categories. By the time the student actually began the case study, they had been exposed to the name of every file that was available to them and where that document could be found. At certain points in the study students were directed to check these resources for information regarding the case study in either text or audio form (representing e-mail or voice mail messages).

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

The case study involved a chocolate company facing a potential product tampering tampering The adulteration of a thing. See Drug tampering.  crisis. The study began with the student (in the role of public relations director) receiving a voice mail message indicating that an individual had died after eating the company's product. As the simulation progresses, the student is asked at various points to answer questions presented in a written questionnaire. The simulation explains to students that information contained in the document files may be accessed at any time to answer any question. In an attempt to make the simulation as realistic as possible, the information received through e-mail and voice mail messages was often incomplete, inaccurate or from unreliable sources, situations that are quite common in crisis events such as this one.

The simulation was divided into 12 sections. Each section represented a specific point in time during the crisis when the student was faced with making decisions (responding on the questionnaire) with the information that was currently available. There were a total of 26 questions many of which asked for multiple answers ("What are the three principles to follow when talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
lecture, speech

rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to
 the media during a crisis" for example). The total number of points that could be earned was 67. Students were specifically told when to answer questions in the questionnaire and then when to advance to the next screen in the study. Students were not allowed to go back and change answers to previous questions.

In an effort to characterize the different types of questions asked, each of the questions presented in the questionnaire was ranked along two dimensions on a scale of one to five by the class instructor. One dimension defined a question by the level of extrapolation (mathematics, algorithm) extrapolation - A mathematical procedure which estimates values of a function for certain desired inputs given values for known inputs.

If the desired input is outside the range of the known values this is called extrapolation, if it is inside then
 that was necessary to reach the appropriate answer. Some questions simply required finding the right document and copying the information from that document directly to the questionnaire (level one extrapolation). Other questions did not have direct answers in the documents and required that the students extrapolate information from one or more documents to develop an answer (level five extrapolation). The other dimension, also measured for each question on a scale of one to five, was the degree to which context impacted the answer. For some questions, the answer would apply no matter what the situation was in the case study (level one context). For other questions the context, what was happening at this specific point in the simulation, was very important in determining the answers (level five context).

A written log was kept to track how the student navigated through the simulation, which included every time a document was opened. This information was used, in part, to determine whether a student had accessed a document that was either necessary or useful in answering a question in a specific section. Monitors were present during each student's session and were instructed to record any comments that the students made during the simulation making special note of anything said regarding their thoughts toward the simulation. The monitors also kept track of the amount of time it took to complete the simulation. All questionnaires were scored using an answer key created by the class instructor. The instructor made the final determination of the correctness of any answer that was in question.

In an effort to evaluate the impact that learning styles may have on simulation performance, each student completed a Gregorc Style Delineator de·lin·e·ate  
tr.v. de·lin·e·at·ed, de·lin·e·at·ing, de·lin·e·ates
1. To draw or trace the outline of; sketch out.

2. To represent pictorially; depict.

3.
 (1982, See Appendix appendix, small, worm-shaped blind tube, about 3 in. (7.6 cm) long and 1-4 in. to 1 in. (.64–2.54 cm) thick, projecting from the cecum (part of the large intestine) on the right side of the lower abdominal cavity.  A for details), a widely used instrument for measuring learning styles and one that has been suggested as possibly useful for developing hypermedia learning tools (Ross Ross , Sir Ronald 1857-1932.

British physician. He won a 1902 Nobel Prize for proving that malaria is transmitted to humans by the bite of the mosquito.
 & Schultz Schultz may refer to

People:
  • Albert Schultz
  • Alby Schultz
  • Connie Schultz
  • Dave Schultz (amateur wrestler)
  • Christian Jeppe Schultz
  • Dave Schultz (ice hockey)
  • David Schultz (professional wrestler)
  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz
, 1999). Students in the public relations class also completed a questionnaire asking them to indicate how much they depended on material they learned in class to answer questions and how much difficulty they had determining whether they should rely on class material versus material presented in the simulation.

RESULTS

A comparison of the overall scores between the two groups shows that their performances were similar, although with both groups, the scores were very low. Out of a possible score of 67, the nonclass group's mean was 39.11 compared to the class group mean of 38.58. The low scores were not unexpected due to the instructor's efforts to make the simulation as realistic as possible.

When the scores are broken down by question, class students tended to score higher than nonclass students on questions that were ranked high in extrapolation and context. A significant difference (p < .10) between scores occurred in 6 of the 26 questions asked. The three questions class students scored significantly higher on were all ranked with extrapolation and context levels of five. Two of three questions that nonclass students scored significantly higher on were ranked with extrapolation and context levels of one. Table 2 has a breakdown of the t-tests for questions along with their extrapolation and context scores. Table 3 provides details on the questions where there was a significant difference.

There was a significant difference between groups in how often they accessed documents that were judged as either necessary or helpful in answering the questions. The nonclass group accessed documents that were rated as necessary for correctly answering questions in a specific section of the questionnaire a significantly higher (p = .02) number of times on average than the class group. The nonclass group also had a significantly higher (p = .06) average for accessing documents rated as helpful to answering questions. This lead to a highly significant difference (p = .005) in the amount of time both groups took to complete the simulation. The nonclass group took an average of 80 minutes to complete the simulation compared to an average of 66 minutes for the class group.

In the survey given to students in the class group after the simulation was completed, 67% responded that they felt confident that they were finding all the information necessary in the study's document folders to answer the questions adequately. Yet 67% also indicated that not knowing if they should rely more on class material or information in the simulation's documents caused them problems. The majority of students (89%) said that they felt that what they learned in class was helpful when answering questions in the simulation.

Learning styles based on the Gregorc Style Delineator showed no significant impact on total simulation scores when all students were included. However, when nonclass student scores were isolated, learning styles did seem to have some impact. The Abstract-Sequential style had a positive correlation Noun 1. positive correlation - a correlation in which large values of one variable are associated with large values of the other and small with small; the correlation coefficient is between 0 and +1
direct correlation
 with total scores while the Concrete-Random style had a negative correlation Noun 1. negative correlation - a correlation in which large values of one variable are associated with small values of the other; the correlation coefficient is between 0 and -1
indirect correlation
 with total scores (Table 4). It should be noted that the Concrete-Random style was suggested as being the one best suited for computer simulations (Gregorc & Butler, 1984). The results of this study showed just the opposite.

DISCUSSION

The results of this study suggest that there are differences in the way students will use an instructional simulation based on their previous experience with the subject matter in the form of class instruction. While the overall scores were almost identical, the class group tended to score higher on questions that required more abstract thinking. This group would benefit from exposure to terminology The terminology used in the computer and telecommunications field adds tremendous confusion not only for the lay person, but for the technicians themselves. What many do not realize is that terms are made up by anybody and everybody in a nonchalant, casual manner without any regard or , principles, and concepts that were stressed in class that would allow them to "see the bigger picture."

However, the class group also showed a tendency to miss out on resources in the simulation that would have been important in answering many of the questions, especially those questions that required a specific fact for an answer. As a result, the nonclass group tended to score higher on questions where the answer relied heavily on finding the right document. Because of their total reliance on the simulation for information to make decisions, they were more thorough in how they proceeded. Also, they did not have to deal with the potential conflict of deciding which source of information, the class or the simulation, they should rely upon.

The results of the survey appear to support the idea that having two sources of information from which to draw may create confusion in terms of how students will use one or the other resource. The class group expressed that they used material from class instruction even though they were not specifically told to do so and that this ambiguity Ambiguity
Delphic oracle

ultimate authority in ancient Greece; often speaks in ambiguous terms. [Gk. Hist.: Leach, 305]

Iseult’s vow

pledge to husband has double meaning. [Arth.
 created some problems in how they used information in the study.

In attempting to use information gathered in class, this group of students would rely mainly on memory, which may not have been accurate or they remembered pieces of information and did not apply them in the proper context. As a result, they would not look up the accurate information on questions related to specific facts in the resources that were available to them in the simulation. As one student would describe the experience in reflecting back on taking the simulation, "It was like taking an open book test without using the book." While they may have felt they were accessing all relevant information, an analysis of their actions demonstrated that they often did not.

The results regarding learning styles pointed more to the influence of class involvement than specific learning styles. The study suggests that students who were not in the class and were depending solely on the simulation for information tended to rely more heavily on their dominant learning styles. The fact that the learning styles that were significant in impacting scores positively were different from those suggested by the tool's author raise questions concerning the instrument's validity for this study. It also suggests that learning styles may be more influential on student performance in the context of different simulation forms.

The fact that the learning style that significantly impacted scores negatively was the one suggested by the tool's author as being best suited for computer simulations raises questions concerning the instrument's validity for this study. When identifying the types of learning environments that are best suited for the Concrete-Random style, Gregorc and Butler (1984) group simulations in with learning tools such as open-ended problem solving problem solving

Process involved in finding a solution to a problem. Many animals routinely solve problems of locomotion, food finding, and shelter through trial and error.
, independent study, and exploration. Putting simulations in this category tends to generalize generalize /gen·er·al·ize/ (-iz)
1. to spread throughout the body, as when local disease becomes systemic.

2. to form a general principle; to reason inductively.
 the activities involved in working through the simulation, some of which were highly structured and required following specific instructions closely.

Gregorc and Butler (1984) did state that Concrete-Random students, "might have difficulties in classes that demand step-by-step learning, especially if they enjoy discovering how things work by trial and error" (pp. 28-29). While the case study was designed to encourage exploration of resources and promote open-ended problem solving, there were a number of instances where step-by-step learning was required. Many times, these different activities were required for the same question making it difficult to isolate isolate /iso·late/ (i´sah-lat)
1. to separate from others.

2. a group of individuals prevented by geographic, genetic, ecologic, social, or artificial barriers from interbreeding with others of their kind.
 learning style impact on the results of specific questions. This would suggest that a more detailed analysis of how learning styles impact certain computer simulations that integrate these different activities would be helpful.

An interesting result of this study that was not a part of the original design was the impact that misreading MISREADING, contracts. When a deed is read falsely to an illiterate or blind man, who is a party to it, such false reading amounts to a fraud, because the contract never had the assent of both parties. 5 Co. 19; 6 East, R. 309; Dane's Ab. c. 86, a, 3, Sec. 7; 2 John. R. 404; 12 John. R.  questions may have played on the results. When doing the initial scoring on the questionnaire, it became obvious that there were students who accessed the right documents but gave the wrong answer because they did not realize the context of the question. This was due in large part to some students losing track of the characters involved in the study, including the character they were portraying. For example, in a couple of sections of the simulation, the student is asked to call a meeting to discuss some aspect of the crisis. For each meeting, the student, in the role of the public relations director, is asked who should attend the meeting. The question is worded, "Besides you and the CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board.  (both mentioned by the names they are given in the simulation), who should attend the meeting?" In both instances, there is a document which provides the names (by job title) of people who attend meetings such as these. For these questions, 72% of the class group and 50% of the nonclass group got part of the answer wrong by naming either the PR Director or the CEO even though the question specifically said they were already on the list and did not need to be included in the answer.

In another question, the student whose simulation character was about to return a phone call from a reporter regarding the crisis, was asked to provide some guidelines guidelines,
n.pl a set of standards, criteria, or specifications to be used or followed in the performance of certain tasks.
 to follow when speaking to the reporter. Again, there was a document in the simulation which contained several tips that the student could use for the answer. At least two of the students used the tip listed in the document "Make eye contact" even though the context of the question involved a phone call. It seemed obvious that some students became so involved in finding the document that fit the question, they lost track of what the question was really asking. This points to the importance of reinforcing re·in·force also re-en·force or re·en·force  
tr.v. re·in·forced, re·in·forc·ing, re·in·forc·es
1. To give more force or effectiveness to; strengthen: The news reinforced her hopes.
 the role that the student is playing during the simulation.

The results of this study suggest two areas of consideration for instructional simulation researchers and designers. For researchers, it points to the importance that contextual factors have on how students perform on such simulations. Further study is required to determine how students apply various information resources (1) The data and information assets of an organization, department or unit. See data administration.

(2) Another name for the Information Systems (IS) or Information Technology (IT) department. See IT.
 to a simulation, both internal and external to the simulation itself, and what can be done to improve how students use the information resources that the simulation presents. For designers, the study highlights the importance of coordination coordination /co·or·di·na·tion/ (ko-or?di-na´shun) the harmonious functioning of interrelated organs and parts.

co·or·di·na·tion
n.
1. The harmonious adjustment or interaction of parts.
 with class instructors. Instructional simulations need to clearly communicate to students what information they should be gathering from the simulation's resources. The study also points to the need to reinforce re·in·force
v.
1. To give more force or effectiveness to something; strengthen.

2. To reward an individual, especially an experimental subject, with a reinforcer subsequent to a desired response or performance.

3.
 the role-playing role-play·ing
n.
A psychotherapeutic technique, designed to reduce the conflict inherent in various social situations, in which participants act out particular behavioral roles in order to expand their awareness of differing points of view.
 aspect of simulations to take full advantage them.

Finally, it should be noted that the instructor of the course saw value in using the simulation even though the average scores were very low. This simulation served as a point of discussion in later classes as students related their experiences, particularly with those sections that proved especially difficult. The instructor believed that having students experience an environment in which the answers are not always apparent or obvious helped them better understand what their experiences might be as future professionals. Although this can be conveyed through class discussion, the instructor contends that the simulation created greater student interest by producing an environment that more closely imitates real life experiences. This led to an increase in the level of involvement among the students in the class. While further study and improvements are needed, there does appear to be value in supplementing classroom experiences with computer-based instructional simulations.

References

Boles, W.W., & Pillay, H. (1999). Matching cognitive styles Cognitive style is a term used in cognitive psychology to describe the way individuals think, perceive and remember information, or their preferred approach to using such information to solve problems.  to computer-based learning instruction: An approach for enhanced learning in electrical engineering electrical engineering: see engineering.
electrical engineering

Branch of engineering concerned with the practical applications of electricity in all its forms, including those of electronics.
. European Journal European Journal is a weekly Deutsche Welle (DW) news program produced in English. It is broadcast from Brussels, Belgium and primarily covers political and economic developments across the European Union and the rest of Europe, as well as issues of particular concern to  of Engineering Education, 24, 371-384.

Chen, C., & Rada, R. (1996). Interacting with hypertext hypertext, technique for organizing computer databases or documents to facilitate the nonsequential retrieval of information. Related pieces of information are connected by preestablished or user-created links that allow a user to follow associative trails across the : A meta-analysis meta-analysis /meta-anal·y·sis/ (met?ah-ah-nal´i-sis) a systematic method that takes data from a number of independent studies and integrates them using statistical analysis.  of experimental studies. Human-Computer Interaction Human-computer interaction

An interdisciplinary field focused on the interactions between human users and computer systems, including the user interface and the underlying processes which produce the interactions.
, 11, 125-156.

Chen, W-F., & Dwyer (2003). Hypermedia research: Present and future. International Journal of Instructional Media, 30(2). 143-148.

Chou, C., & Lin. H. (1998). The effect of navigation map types and cognitive styles on Learner's performance in a computer-networked hypertext learning system. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 7(2/3). 151-176.

Gregorc, A. F., & Butler, K. A. (1984). Learning is a matter of style. VocEd, 59(3), 27-29.

Hill, J.R., & Hannafin, M.J. (1997). Cognitive strategies and learning from the world wide web. Educational Technology, Research and Development, 45(4), 37-64.

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Horney, M. (1993). A measure of hypertext linearity. Journal of Educational Multimedia Hypermedia, 2(1), 67-82.

Iiyoshi, T., & Hannafin, M.J. (1998, April). Cognitive tools for open-ended learning environments: Theoretical and implementation perspectives. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association The American Educational Research Association, or AERA, was founded in 1916 as a professional organization representing educational researchers in the United States and around the world. , San Diego San Diego (săn dēā`gō), city (1990 pop. 1,110,549), seat of San Diego co., S Calif., on San Diego Bay; inc. 1850. San Diego includes the unincorporated communities of La Jolla and Spring Valley. Coronado is across the bay. , CA.

Jonassen, D.H., Ambruso, D.R., & Olesen, J. (1992). Designing a hypertext on Transfusion medicine transfusion medicine Blood banking A subspecialty of clinical pathology or internal medicine which is involved in Pt management through administration of blood cells and blood products including fresh-frozen plasma and cryoprecipitate; TM specialists are versant in  using cognitive flexibility theory. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 2. 309-322.

Jonassen, D. H., Campbell, J. P., & Davidson, M. E. (1994). Learning with media: Restructuring restructuring - The transformation from one representation form to another at the same relative abstraction level, while preserving the subject system's external behaviour (functionality and semantics).  the debate. Educational Technology Research & Development, 42(2). 31-39.

Lee, J. (1999). Effectiveness of computer-based instructional simulation: A metaanalysis. International Journal of Instructional Media, 26(1), 71-86.

Melara. G. E. (1996). Investigating learning styles on different hypertext environments: Hierarchical-like and network-like structures. Journal of Educational Computing computing - computer  Research, 14, 313-328.

McKerlie, D., & Preece. J. (1993). The hype hype 1   Slang
n.
1. Excessive publicity and the ensuing commotion: the hype surrounding the murder trial.

2.
 and the media: Issues concerned with designing hypermedia. Journal of Microcomputer microcomputer

Small digital computers whose CPU is contained on a single integrated semiconductor chip. As large-scale and then very large-scale integration (VLSI) have progressively increased the number of transistors that can be placed on one chip, the processing capacity
 Applications, 16(1), 33-47.

McKnight, C., Richardson, J., & Dillon, A. (1990). Journal articles as learning resource: What can hypertext offer? In D. Jonassen & H. Mandl (Eds.), Designing hypermedia for learning (pp.277-291). Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Paolucci, R. (1998). The effects of cognitive style and knowledge structure on performance using a hypermedia learning system. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 7(2/3), 123-150.

Ross, J.L., & Schulz Schulz   , Charles Monroe 1922-2000.

American cartoonist who created the Peanuts comic strip.

Noun 1. Schulz - United States cartoonist whose comic strip included the beagle Snoopy (1922-2000)
Charles M.
, R. A. (1999). Using the world wide web to accommodate diverse learning styles. College Teaching, 47(4), 123-129.

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APPENDIX A Gregorc Style Delineator

The Gregorc Style Delinieator provides a measurement of four different categories of learning styles. Gregorc and Butler (1982) have associated these four styles with specific types of learning environments that students who are dominant in these styles work best.
Learning Style            Learning Environment

Concrete sequential (CS)  Works best with specific directions and step-
                          by-step instructions.
Abstract sequential (AS)  Works best with theories and abstract ideas
                          that require the application of logic and
                          rational thought.
Abstract random (AR)      Works best when the environment is important
                          in learning such as working with others in
                          group projects.
Concrete Random (CR)      Works best in situations requiring exploration
                          and open-ended problem solving. Gregorc and
                          Butler specifically mention that this type of
                          person works well with simulations.


MARK SHIFFLET AND JANE BROWN

University of Evansville Evansville, city (1990 pop. 126,272), seat of Vanderburgh co., extreme SW Ind., a port on the Ohio River; inc. 1819. It is a rail and river shipping and commercial center for a coal, oil, and farm region.  

USA

ms83@evansville.edu See .edu.

(networking) edu - ("education") The top-level domain for educational establishments in the USA (and some other countries). E.g. "mit.edu". The UK equivalent is "ac.uk".
 

jbrown@roadescape.com
Table 1 Documents available to Students in the Simulation by Subject
Category

Principles of         R.O.P.E.
Crisis Communication  What is a Crisis?
                      Crisis Communication Principles
Communication         The Crisis Management Team
Resources             Crisis Space Needs
                      Floor Plan for Emergency Operations Center
                      Floor Plan for Information Center
                      Setup for Press Conferences
                      Media Kits
                      Crisis Hotline
                      Using the Web in a Crisis
Internal              Notifying Aunt Lolly's Personnel in a Crisis
Communication         Keeping your Employees Informed
External              News Release Guidelines
Communication         Tips for Dealing with Reporters
                      Handling Yourself at a Press Conference
                      Handling Yourself at a Broadcast Interview
                      Outside Notification in a Crisis
                      Key NonMedia Constituencies
                      Key Media Contacts
Aunt Lolly's          Mission Statement
Information           Company History
                      Organizational Chart
                      Memo about Possible Risk to Company

Table 2 Mean Scores and t-Test Values for Simulation Questions by
Context and Extrapolation Ratings

                                             Context,
          Total   Class  Non-Class  T-Test   Extrapolation
Question  Points  Mean   Mean       p-value  Rating (1)

A.1       3       1.69   2.14       0.09*    1, 1
D.1       4       3.17   3.36       0.57     1, 1
D.2       4       3.22   3.71       0.15     1, 1
E.1       1       0.89   0.79       0.44     1, 1
B.3       3       2.17   2.64       0.17     1, 1
G.2       3       2.61   2.36       0.52     1, 1
A.2       1       0.56   0.36       0.28     2, 1
G.1       3       2.22   1.89       0.30     1, 3
H.1       1       0.86   0.89       0.78     2, 2
I.2       3       1.44   1.82       0.37     2, 2
L.1       3       0.50   1.43       0.001*   2, 2
C.1       1       0.94   1.07       0.16     2, 3
C.2       3       1.61   2.07       0.08*    2, 3
E.2       3       1.47   1.71       0.27     3, 2

* Significant at p <.10 or lower.

(1) Context:        1 = answer not dependent on context
                    5 = answer highly dependent on context
(1) Extrapolation:  1 = no extrapolation necessary for answer
                    5 = extrapolation necessary for answer

                                             Context,
          Total   Class  Non-Class  T-Test   Extrapolation
Question  Points  Mean   Mean       p-value  Rating (1)

G.3        4       2.14   2.11      0.94     1, 5
H.2        1       0.64   0.54      0.49     2, 4
H.3        3       1.97   1.96      0.98     3, 3
J.1        3       0.94   0.86      0.54     4, 4
K.1        3       1.03   1.04      0.98     4, 5
A.3        3       1.50   1.00      0.05*    5, 5
B.1        3       2.44   2.04      0.12     5, 5
B.2        2       1.39   1.54      0.59     5, 5
F.1        1       0.19   0.04      0.16     5, 5
F.2        3       1.22   0.71      0.10*    5, 5
I.1        2       0.83   0.21      0.02*    5, 5
J.2        3       0.92   0.82      0.71     5, 5
Total     67      38.58  39.11      0.82

* Significant at p <.10 or lower.

(1) Context:        1 = answer not dependent on context
                    5 = answer highly dependent on context
(1) Extrapolation:  1 = no extrapolation necessary for answer
                    5 = extrapolation necessary for answer

Table 3 Simulation Questions in Which There Was a Significant Difference
in Group Scores

Question                                Notes on Question

A. 1 "Whom, inside the company, does    This is the first question the
Casey Doe notify first? Second?         student is asked after being
Third?"                                 notified about the possible
                                        product tampering.
L. 1 "Doe plans to emphasize which      This question was asked in the
three points when addressing a          context of Doe addressing a
beginning public relations class on     college class
the E step of the public relations
process in crisis communication?"
C. 2 "Identify at least three errors    This question is asked regarding
of content (not format) that Doe        Doe's evaluation of two drafts
identifies in the press release handed  of a news release.
back to Chris Lowly"
A. 3 "Circle the top three non-media    The student is presented a list
publics Doe should notify if this       of 12 specific non-media publics
situation is, indeed, a crisis"         from which to select 3.
F. 2 "What are three communication      This question is asked in the
objectives that Doe might set, along    context of a corporate meeting
with the main public targeted by each   concerning the crisis.
objective?"
I. 1 "Casey Doe and CEO Scotty LeMeaux  This question is asked in the
meet to strategize about  the           context of preparing the
interview ... What is the message and   company's CEO for a nationally-
what is the sound-bite that Scotty can  televised interview.
repeat during the interview?"

Table 4 Correlation of Gregorc Learning Style Scores with Simulation
Scores (Class and Non-class)

Learning Style        All Students  Class Students  Non-class Students

Concrete-Sequential:  r = .019      r = -.01        r = .061
Abstract-Sequential:  r = .18       r = -.01        r = .52 (1)
Abstract-Random:      r = .007      r = .229        r = -.37 (2)
Concrete-Random:      r = -.20      r = -.21        r = -.19

(1) t-test was significant at p <.05
(2) t-test was significant at p <.10
COPYRIGHT 2006 Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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