CCE Theses and Dissertations


Effects of Computer-Based Instruction on Student Learning of Psychophysiological Detection of Deception Test Question Formulation

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Science in Training and Learning


Center for Computer and Information Sciences


George Fornshell

Committee Member

Marlyn Kemper Littman


This study was undertaken in response to the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute's need to identify efficient and economical alternative methods of delivering instruction to resident students and field examiners. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of computer-based instruction (CBI) on student learning of psychophysiological detection of deception test question formulation. A posttest-only control group design and a one-tailed t test for independent samples was used. The comparison involved an experimental group receiving test question formulation instruction using CBI, and a control group receiving the traditional classroom lecture. Other researchers have found that CBI, compared to traditional instruction, raises performance scores and reduces learning and instructional time. CBI usually produces positive effects on students and holds high motivational value. Other findings also show that as technology and design of human-computer interfaces progress, the effectiveness of computer-based learning improves.

Participating in this study were students (n=29) attending the fall semester basic forensic psychophysiology course. Students were randomly assigned to an experimental or control group. Students in the experimental group (n=14) learned test question formulation using CBI, and students in the control group (n=15) learned test question formulation from classroom instruction. Both groups were administered a posttest to determine if there was a significant difference in learning.

After receiving the treatment, it was found that students in the CBI group achieved significantly higher posttest scores (p < 0.01) than students in the traditional classroom group. Also, students using CBI to learn test question formulation mastered the material in less than half the time of their colleagues in the classroom group.

It was concluded that the CBI method of instruction was more effective in promoting learning of test question formulation than classroom instruction. The evidence strongly suggests that the CBI program on test question formulation can supplement or replace classroom instruction, and save in instructional time. It was recommended that the CBI program be implemented in the curriculum and distributed to students selected to attend the basic resident course in forensic psychophysiology, and field examiners for continuing education. It was also recommended that additional CBI programs be developed to provide more classroom hours for in-depth learning of advanced theories about forensic psychophysiology.

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