Enhancing understanding of experimental design and statistics using e-learning

Maxine Swingler, Paul Bishop

Abstract


A core area in any psychology degree is the practical course that runs along side the lecture course and provides students with training in running experiments and analysing data. However, the challenge is to deliver this training in large classes, where many students express anxiety about the statistics element of their course. This article describes the design and evaluation of a web based interactive tutorial that introduced students to the concepts behind basic experimental design and statistics. The interactive component of the tutorial focussed on understanding of experimental design, step by step feedback on calculation of statistics and how to interpret and report results.

Students’ self efficacy in a number of statistical tasks was measured before and after completing the online tutorial and results showed a significant increase in self efficacy after the tutorial. Students reported the tutorial as particularly useful for understanding inferential statistics and for their assessed laboratory reports. Future developments of an online tutorial based on these findings are discussed.

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