CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Steven R. Terrell

Committee Member

Laurie Dringus

Committee Member

Dwayne H. Rogers


The arrival of inexpensive high fidelity audio capabilities for personal computers has been accompanied by sweeping claims of enhanced educational effectiveness. Research has only served to confuse these claims with both significant and non-significant findings. This may be due partly to the single dimensional model which has been assumed when examining audio. When computer-based audio is examined as a multi-dimensional display analogous in capability and function to the more familiar visual display (computer screen), a different picture emerges. Although it is now clear that integrated audio can enhance learning, the instructional designer is still left with little guidance whether or how to use audio to best effect.

This study has examined whether there are, and if so which communications filling specific educational functions (instructional text and aural examples) can be delivered through different output channels (visual display channel [computer screen] and for auditory display channel [earphones]) to best effect. Randomly selected II th and 12th grade students from the same high school were given a computer-based instructional sequence with aural content. The treatment was varied to conform to a two-way factorial design examining both instructional narrative and aural example when offered via (a) the visual display only, (b) the auditory display only, and (c) simultaneously in both displays.

All treatments were followed by an on-line, simulation-based, problem-solving examination. Outcome scores, response latency and elapsed treatment times were analyzed with two-way analysis of variance and multiple comparison procedures to identify any significant main or interaction effects.

The independence of communications serving specific educational functions was confirmed. Instructional narrative was found to be more effective (p < .0 I) when presented as part of the auditory display either alone or in concert with the visual display. Aural examples were most effectively (p < .05) displayed simultaneously as part of the auditory and visual displays. Time required to complete instruction was not affected by the addition of an auditory display. Lack of an auditory display can be remediated by exposure to and additional practice with the targeted aural content.

Files over 10MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "Save as..."

Share Feedback

  Link to NovaCat