Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Critical thinking as an outcome of distance learning: A study of critical thinking in a distance learning environment
by Bronson, Rowan Whitfield, Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2008, 222; 3315179
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether students improve their ability to apply critical thinking skills after participating in Internet-based distance learning courses with critical thinking as a core element and how these results relate to changes in the critical thinking skills ability of resident based students. Samples of students in both resident based higher education courses and Internet-based distance learning courses with critical thinking as a core element were assessed and analyzed.

The study used the Washington State University Rubric with a pretest and posttest to determine if changes in critical thinking skills ability occurred after an educational experience of a semester or its equivalent. There were 42 participants who completed the study. Twenty-one students participated in resident based courses and the remaining 21 students participated in Internet-based distance learning courses. Both groups viewed the same video, which provided a context for assessing students' ability to apply critical thinking skills. The video was viewed near the beginning of each course of instruction and again near the end of that educational experience. Each group took a pretest near the beginning of their course of instruction after viewing the video and a posttest near the end of their course after viewing the video a second time. The questions on both the pretest and the posttest were based on the video and required students to use critical thinking skills to answer.

A Paired t-Test was administered for both groups to assess changes in critical thinking skills ability. Significant changes in critical thinking skills were noted for both groups. In addition, an Independent t-Test conducted on the total sample found no statistically significant differences in changes the rate of changes noted in students' critical thinking skills ability across the two groups.

The study's results supports the conclusion that both resident based and Internet-based students improve their critical thinking skills ability after participating in courses with critical thinking as a core element. In addition, the results indicate that delivery mode does not influence changes in students' critical thinking skills ability.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Watkins, Ryan R.
Commitee: Logan, Gregory M., Logan, Suzanne, McDaniel, James G., Milman, Natalie B., Yen, Cherng-Jyh
School: The George Washington University
Department: Education and Human Development
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 69/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational software, Higher education
Keywords: Critical thinking, Distance learning
Publication Number: 3315179
ISBN: 978-0-549-64547-4
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