A developmental study of the use of integrated software for computer-assisted instruction



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The increasing importance of the computer as an educational tool has brought to light certain liabilities in the acquisition of appropriate instructional software. Commercial materials are often too general in scope or do not treat with specific topics. One solution to this problem is teacher-produced software. Unfortunately, most educators have neither the time nor resources to devote to either acquiring appropriate computer programming skills or producing a completed piece of instructional software. One possible solution to this problem lies in the use of integrated software packages that are currently referred to as "personal productivity" software. These software items encompass several different applications (most frequently word processing, database, and spreadsheet) within a single program. All of the contained applications are accessed and utilized with similar commands, thus allowing the user to rapidly become proficient in the use of all of the applications. The features available in these packages present many possibilities as an instructional software development and delivery medium as well as a personal productivity tool. To this end, this study attempts to ascertain how effective instructional software can be designed using this medium (integrated software) and how well the product of this design process performs when judged by impartial evaluators. The study occurred in three stages: a pilot study, an implementation study, and a product evaluation. The pilot study was used to determine what was necessary to design effective software using integrated software. An assessment of the results from the pilot study resulted in the creation of a prototype template-designer's guidebook which was used as the primary design reference for the implementation study. The products of the main study were then evaluated to determine the relative effectiveness of these items as instructional software. Designer and evaluator attitudes and reactions to this design process were sampled throughout the study through the use of various survey and evaluation instruments and indicated a positive response on the pan of all participants to both the concept and the production of template-based, integrated software-implemented instructional materials.



Computer-assisted instruction -- Software, Educational technology