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Effectiveness of computer-assisted instruction compared to traditional instruction in a basic computer proficiency course at the collegiate level

, Utah State University, United States

Utah State University . Awarded


This study was prompted by the increasing implementation of computer-assisted instructional (CAI) programs in college computer proficiency courses without sufficient evidence that these programs are effective. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a CAI program on student achievement as measured by performance tests in a college computer proficiency course.

This study was conducted in eight college computer proficiency sections in Utah. A questionnaire was administered to obtain demographic data and previous software experience. A quasi-experiment using a nonequivalent control-group design was implemented to compare word processing and spreadsheet applications achievement, and a static-group comparison design was implemented to compare database applications achievement between the control and treatment groups. Students in the treatment group completed a follow-up questionnaire to obtain their perceptions on the effectiveness of the CAI lessons.

Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were conducted to compare student achievement in word processing, spreadsheet applications, and database applications. Independent-samples t tests were conducted to compare differences between males and females and between traditional and nontraditional student achievement within the treatment group. One-sample t tests were conducted to evaluate student perceptions about the CAI training in relation to software learning and test preparation.

Statistically significant differences on student achievement existed between the groups; however, previous software experience was similar. For students in the CAI group, no statistically significant differences existed in student achievement between males and females or between traditional and nontraditional students. Student perceptions in relation to CAI helping students learn software tasks and in preparing students for the performance tests were statistically significant.

Based on the findings, it appears that CAI is more effective than TI on student achievement in computer proficiency courses. However, CAI does not have a different effect on males and females or traditional and nontraditional students. Finally, students believe that CAI training helped them learn software tasks and prepare for the performance tests.

Computer proficiency instructors are recommended to supplement TI with CAI. Furthermore, recommendations are made for further CAI research in computer proficiency courses.


Mulbery, K.R. Effectiveness of computer-assisted instruction compared to traditional instruction in a basic computer proficiency course at the collegiate level. Ph.D. thesis, Utah State University. Retrieved March 18, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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