Title page for ETD etd-04132004-172352

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Lowe, Janis Sue
Author's Email Address jlowe61@cox.net
URN etd-04132004-172352
Title A Theory of Effective Computer-Based Instruction for Adults
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Human Resource Education Workforce Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Elwood F. Holton, III Committee Chair
Donna Redmann Committee Member
Michael Burnett Committee Member
Reid Bates Committee Member
Suzanne D. Pawlowski Committee Member
  • computer self-efficacy
  • theory building
  • external support
  • self-directed learning
Date of Defense 2004-04-01
Availability unrestricted
Computer-based instruction (CBI) was considered the technological phenomenon to revolutionize education and training. Today, the Internet and computer technology are reported to have significantly altered the education landscape (Johnson & Aragon, 2002). The rapid advances in technology, the need for lifelong learning, and the growth of non-traditional students have encouraged the use of the computer as a method of instructional delivery. Evaluating the effectiveness of CBI as a whole technology is very difficult. The inability to measure effectiveness is attributable in part to the fact that CBI is not just one component, but a complex range of services and activities carried out for instructional and learning purposes (Gibbons & Fairweather, 2000).

This study presents a theory of critical components that impact the effectiveness of computer-based instruction for adults. The theory was developed to provide a framework for research to explain or predict effective learning by adults using a desktop computer. The five conclusions drawn from this research are: (1) the characteristics of self-directedness and computer self-efficacy of adult learners play an important role in designing CBI for adults; (2) learning goal level impacts instructional design strategy and instructional control component of CBI design; (3) external support and instructional support are needed to provide a positive CBI experience; (4) CBI design is interwoven with the units of self-directedness, computer self-efficacy, learning goal level, instructional design, and external support; and (5) the theory draws together the isolated variables researchers consider important in the adult learning process and aligns them to provide effective CBI.

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