The evaluation of computer based training as a method of teaching map reading in a military context

Conradie, Anje (2002-03)

Thesis (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Map reading forms an integral part of every soldier's training. Although all troops are exposed to map reading during basic training, they thereafter do not frequently work with maps on a daily basis, but are still required to apply this knowledge during field exercises or combat situations. Various forms of training are available. Computer Based Training (CBT) is a technique that may contribute to the improved acquisition and retention of knowledge when the subject matter requires of students to visualise concepts, as CBT engages multiple senses. CBT incorporates principles from the Component Display Theory and Constructivism, which suggest that CBT might result in superior map reading competencies when used as an alternative to conventional, classroom based, map reading instruction. .The objective of this study was firstly to determine whether CBT, compared to conventional classroom instruction, enhances the acquisition of knowledge when teaching users how to read a two-dimensional (2D) map. In addition, the study had as its objective to determine whether CBT leads to improved retention of 2D map reading knowledge over a one month period when compared to conventional instruction. Finally the study aimed to determine the factors that influence learning when using CBT as the training medium. A basic randomised, between subjects research design, was used to test the hypotheses that eBT would result in the improved acquisition and retention of 2D map reading competencies. The control group consisted of 30 students and the experimental CBT group of 29 students. All subjects were personnel from the School of Armour of the South African National Defence Force. With regards to map training, the majority of the students had exposure to Geography up to grade 12 or further training. A new training programmewas designed. The programmewas developed in two equivalent formats, one appropriate for conventional classroom instruction (control group), and a eBT format for the experimental group. Each student received two manuals. One was a self-study manual that had to be completed before commencing with the course, and the other was received on the first day of the course. Both the trainers also received a manual that contained all the correct answers to the map reading problems forming part of the programme. The eBT programme was designed on paper with the help of a template for the storyboard. A lesson was designed for each day of the course, but students could review any lesson previously studied. Before the students started with lesson 1, they had to complete a test on the computer to determine the extent to which they have acquired the information in the self-study manual. After passing the test the students could select lesson 1. A mind-map was designed for each lesson to help students orientate themselves. For both groups the information studied was placed in the context of "Operation Night Owl", an interactive practical mission. The eBT group had the computer as a guide, providing textured maps and possible answers. Three tests were used to evaluate the students and to gather data regarding their performance. The students were not informed about these tests as the researcher wanted to measure natural acquisition and retention, and not the amount of time that they had studied. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated that the two groups did not differ statistically significantly (p>,05) in their initial degree of map reading knowledge. The average test percentage increased from the pre-test to the first post-test (knowledge acquisition), indicating that the class group increased by 15,2 % and the eBT group by 19 %. Hypothesis 1 states that eBT in comparison to traditional instruction enhances the acquisition of map reading knowledge when teaching users how to read a 2D map. The difference between the class and eBT means for post-test 1 (knowledge acquisition) was, however, statistically insignificant (p>,05). A comparison of the means of the post-test 2 (retention) results of the class and eBT groups clearly indicates that the performance levels retained one month after training, also do not differ statistically significantly (p>,05). The study therefore also fails to corroborate the hypothesis that eBT would result in the greater retention of map reading knowledge when compared to conventional classroom instruction. Based on the results found when eBT results were compared with the traditional classroom technique, it may be advisable to combine classroom teaching with eBT. During the completion of the mission segment of the course, students tended to form natural groups to complete the questions. As working together may result in better understanding of new information (peers learn from each other), it is therefore recommended that the eBT map-reading course be combined with more discussion groups. In conclusion, the results do not suggest that eBT is a superior training technique for the teaching of map reading competencies. Numerous literature sources however do indicate that eBT can contribute significantly to the learning experience, making it still plausible that eBT could indeed, upon further refinement of the programme, contribute to teaching of map reading competencies.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Kaartlees vorm 'n integrale deel van elke soldaat se opleiding. Alhoewel elke soldaat blootgestel word aan kaartlees tydens basiese opleiding, word daar nie op 'n daaglikse basis daarmee gewerk nie. Dit blyegter nodig om kaartlees tydens veld-oefeninge en aanvalsituasies toe te pas. Verskillende vorme van opleiding is beskikbaar t.o.v. die aanleer van kaartleestegnieke. Rekenaargebaseerde Dnderrig (RGD) is 'n tegniek wat veelvoudige gewaarwordinge insluit, en dus 'n bydrae tot beter leer en retensie van kennis kan lewer, wanneer dit van die student verwag word om konsepte te visualiseer. RGD sluit eienskappe van Komponent-tentoonstellingsteorie en Konstruktiwiteitsteorie in wat tot verbeterde kaartlees bevoegdheid mag lei indien dit as 'n alternatief tot die konvensionele klaskamer-gebaseerde kaartlees gebruik word. Die doel van die studie was eerstens om vas te stelof RGD, in vergelyking met die konvensionele klaskamermetode, 'n groter bydra lewer in die leer en retensie van kennis wanneer studente geleer word om 'n 2-dimensionele (2D)-kaart te lees. Tweedens stel die studie dit ten doelom vas te stelof RGD, in vergelyking met die konvensionele metode, tot verbeterde retensie van 2D-kaartlees kennis oor 'n een-maand tydperk lei. Laastens beoog hierdie studie om vas te stel watter faktore leer beïnvloed wanneer RGD as 'n opleidingsmedium gebruik word. 'n Basiese, ewekansige, tussen-groep navorsingsontwerp is gebruik om die hipotese dat RGD sal lei tot die verbeterde leer en retensie van 2D-kaartleesbevoegdhede, te toets. Die kontrolegroep het bestaan uit 30 studente en die eksperimentele RGD-groep uit 29 studente. Die steekproef was troepe van die Pantserskool van die Suid Afrikaanse Weermag. Die meerderheid van die steekproef het blootstelling aan Aardrykskunde tot graad 12 of verder gehad. 'n Nuwe opleidingsprogram is ontwerp. Die handleidings is ontwerp in 'n formaat geskik vir konvensionele klaskamer instruksie (kontrole groep) so wel as 'n formaat geskik vir RGO (eksperimentele groep). Elke student het twee handleidings ontvang. Die een was 'n self-studiehandleiding wat voor die aanvang van die kursus voltooi moes word, en die ander een is op die eerste dag van die kursus ontvang. Albei die instrukteurs het ook 'n handleiding ontvang wat die korrekte antwoorde rakende die kaartleesprobleme bespreek in die program bevat het. Die RGO program is op papier ontwerp met die hulp van 'n skermplaat. 'n Les is uitgewerk vir elke dag van die kursus, maar studente kon enige van die vorige behandelde lesse hersien. Voordat die studente met les 1 kon begin moes elkeen eers 'n toets op die rekenaar voltooi om te bepaal hoeveel inligting in die self-studie handleiding bemeester is. Sodra die toets geslaag is kon die student les 1 selekteer 'n Skematiese voorstelling is vir elke les ontwerp om die studente te help om hulleself te oriënteer. Die inligting wat deur beide groepe bestudeer is, is in die konteks van "Operasie Naguil", 'n interaktiewe praktiese opdrag, geplaas. Die RGO groep het 'n rekenaar as 'n riglyn gehad wat getekstureerde kaarte en moontlike antwoorde verskaf het. Drie toetse is gebruik om die studente mee te evalueer en data aangaande hulle vordering te verky. Die studente is nie ingelig oor die toetse nie aangesien die navorser hulle natuurlike leer en retensie van kennis wou toets en nie kennis verkry a.g.v. tyd spandeer aan studie nie. Die variansie-ontleding (ANOVA) het aangedui dat die twee groepe se kaartleeskennis aanvanklik nie statisties beduidend (p>,05) verskil het nie. Die gemiddelde toetspersentasie vanaf die vooraf-toets tot die eerste na-toets (leer) het getoon dat die klasgroep met 15,2% en die RGO groep met 19 % verbeter het. Die eerste hipotese het getoets of RGD tot In vebetering in leer en retensie sal lei teenoor traditionele klasrnetodes. Die verskil tussen die klas en RGD gemiddeld vir na-toets 1 (leer) was statisties onbeduidend (p>,05). 'n Vergelyking van die gemiddelds van die tweede na-toets (retensie) het ook nie 'n statisties beduidende verskil getoon nie (p>,05). Die studie slaag dus nie daarin om te bewys dat RGO tot beter retensie van kaartleeskennis in teenstelling met konvensionele klasonderrig lei nie. Die resultate suggereer dat dit raadsaam mag wees om klasonderrig te kombineer met RGO. Tydens die voltooiing van die missies het die studente 'n neiging getoon om vanself groepe te vorm om die vrae te voltooi. As nuwe inligting beter verstaan word deur in groepe saam te werk (groeplede leer by mekaar), kan dit dus aanbeveel word dat die RGD kaartleeskursus gekombineer word met meer besprekingsgroepe. Ten slotte word daar nie bevind dat RGO In beter opleidingstegniek vir die onderrig van kaartleestegniek is nie. Verskeie bronne dui wel daarop dat RGO 'n betekenisvolle bydrae tot die leerondervinding kan lewer. Dus, met verdere verbetering van die program, sou RGD wel moontlik kon bydra tot die onderrig van kaartlees-bevoegdhede.

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