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Teaching Problem Solving Through Computer Simulations

Woodward, J.; Carnine, D.; Gersten, R.
This study examined the effect of a computer simulation program, Health Ways (HW), on the academic achievement of high school students with mild handicaps in a health class. Thirty students were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The first group received instruction with structured teaching and the second group received instruction with a combination of structured teaching and HW. The structured teaching program was based on the principles of Direct Instruction and the HW program was based on the instructional design principles featured in the Theory of Instruction (Engelmann & Carnine, 1982). Following 12 consecutive days of instruction the students were tested on basic facts, concepts, and health problem-solving skills. Results indicated a significant difference on basic facts and concepts, which were emphasized by HW. The most significant evidence was seen on the results of the problem solving skills test. Results suggested that the HW program effectively taught factual-level knowledge and higher cognitive skills. HW appeared to be an effective form for reviewing material, which had been previously presented in the written curriculum. (Copyright © 2011, National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI). All rights reserved).
Research areas:
Main publication type:
Program Effectiveness
Health Ways; Computer simulation; health education; special education; problem-solving skills; Metropolitan Achievement Test; Nutrition and Disease Test; Health Diagnosis Test
American Educational Research Journal
Design type:
Pretest posttest control group design with random assignment
Fidelity monitored:
Students included:
Secondary students, students with mild handicaps, students with learning disabilities
High school

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