The effect of active student responding in computer -assisted instruction on social -studies learning by students with learning disabilities

Annamaria Jerome, Florida International University


The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of three student response conditions during computer-assisted instruction on the acquisition and maintenance of social-studies facts. Two of the conditions required active student responding (ASR), whereas the other required an on-task (OT) response. Participants were five fifth-grade students, with learning disabilities enrolled in a private school. An alternating treatments design with a best treatments phase was used to compare the effects of the response procedures on three major dependent measures: same-day tests, next-day tests, and maintenance tests. Each week for six weeks, participants were provided daily one-to-one instruction on sets of 21 unknown social-studies facts using a hypermedia computer program, with a new set of facts being practiced each week. Each set of 21 facts was divided randomly into three conditions: Clicking-ASR, Repeating-ASR, and Listening-OT. Hypermedia lesson began weekly with the concept introduction lesson, followed by practice and testing. Practice and testing occurred four days per week, per set. During Clicking-ASR, student practice involved the selection of a social-studies response by clicking on an item with the mouse on the hypermedia card. Repeating-ASR instruction required students to orally repeat the social-studies facts when prompted by the computer. During Listening-OT, students listened to the social-studies facts being read by the computer. During weeks seven and eight, instruction occurred with seven unknown facts using only the best treatment. Test results show that all for all 5 students, the Repeating-ASR practice procedure resulted in more social-studies facts stated correctly on same-day tests, next-day tests, and one-and two-week maintenance tests. Clicking-ASR was the next most effective procedure. During the seventh and eighth week of instruction when only the best practice condition was implemented, Repeating-ASR produced higher scores than all conditions (including Repeating-ASR) during the first six weeks of the study. The results lend further support to the growing body of literature that demonstrates the positive relation between ASR and student achievement. Much of the ASR literature has focused on the effects of increased ASR during teacher-led or peer-mediated instruction. This study adds a dimension to that research in that it demonstrated the importance of ASR during computer-assisted instruction and further suggests that the type of ASR used during computer-assisted instruction may influence learning. Future research is needed to investigate the effectiveness of other types of ASR during computer-assisted instruction and to identify other fundamental characteristics of an effective computer-assisted instruction.

Subject Area

Special education|Educational software|Social studies education

Recommended Citation

Jerome, Annamaria, "The effect of active student responding in computer -assisted instruction on social -studies learning by students with learning disabilities" (2003). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3126426.