An Exploratory Study into the Efficacy of Learning Objects
Nicholas W. Farha, Indiana State University
Learning objects have quickly become a widely accepted approach to instructional technology, particularly in on-line and computer-based learning environments. While there is a substantial body of literature concerning learning objects, very little of it verifies their efficacy. This research investigated the effectiveness of learning objects by comparing learning outcomes using a learning object with outcomes using a traditional textbook-based method of instruction. Participants were 327 undergraduate college students at a traditional public four-year coed institution, a private four-year women’s college, a private four-year engineering institution, and a public two-year community college. Through a series of independent samples t-tests and Analyses of Variance, results revealed mean scores for the learning object group that were nearly three times higher than the mean scores for the textbook-taught group. Gaming experience, age, gender, and learner preference were evaluated for their potential influence on the results; no statistically significant differences were found, implying that the learning object itself was central to the outcomes achieved. The future of learning objects is bright, and more empirical research is called for in the area of learning object effectiveness.