The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of computer-assisted instruction (CAI) and traditional classroom lecture (TCL). A randomized two-group pretest/posttest quasi-experimental design was used. Thirty first year students in a Master of Occupational Therapy program located in the southwestern United States were recruited. All participants were female, with a mean age of 25.8 years. Three percent of the participants rated themselves as novice concerning computer skills, 67% average computer skills, and 30% excellent computer skills. Two methods were compared for teaching the basic concepts of the Occupational Adaptation theory: lecture method in which the teacher follows a Power Point presentation, and an interactive, multimedia CD-ROM method, with the same Power Point presentation as lecture. There was no significant difference (p<.05) in baseline knowledge about the theory between the two groups. Results showed significant differences between the two groups in cognitive gains (p < 05.), with the CAI group demonstrating more cognitive gain than the TCL group. Additionally, the CAI group spent 46% less time than the TCL group to cover the material. The results of this study suggested that occupational therapy learners could independently learn theory using computer-assisted instruction materials.



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