Comparing the efficacy of distance learning and traditional classroom instructional methods in public speaking courses
Rodney E. Altemose, Wilmington College , United States
Wilmington College . Awarded
This study investigated the efficacy of two different modes of teaching a college level public speaking course at a suburban community college in Pennsylvania. This study used a mixture of quantitative and qualitative research methods to measure the effectiveness of distance learning and face-to-face methods of instruction as they related to reducing public speaking anxiety. Public speaking anxiety was assessed by using college students in six different sections of a required basic speech course. The sample size consisted of 61 students. Each student was asked to complete the Personal Report of Public Speaking Anxiety (PRPSA) on the first day of class (pre-test) and again on the last day of class (post-test). Focus groups were randomly employed using students from four of the six sections.
In comparing the students' score differences, the face-to-face group demonstrated a greater overall reduction in public speaking anxiety over the 15-week semester. While the Elearning sections demonstrated a reduction in public speaking anxiety (PSA), significance was achieved between the two methods of teaching public speaking. The findings of this study suggest that students can expect a significantly greater reduction in their public speaking anxiety by enrolling in a face-to-face section rather than enrolling in an Elearning section.
Prior research has demonstrated success of many strategies for reducing PSA. Future research should investigate specific strategies for different methods of instruction. Due to the nature of public speaking anxiety, future research should begin with a larger sample size to compensate for a potentially large mortality rate.
Altemose, R.E. Comparing the efficacy of distance learning and traditional classroom instructional methods in public speaking courses. Ph.D. thesis, Wilmington College.
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