Thumbnail Image

A study of "Economics in Action" : a comparison of computer-assisted instruction use by mature and younger students

McFarlane, Helen M.
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::130103 Higher Education
Computer-assisted instruction offers advantages over traditional forms of teaching. Such advantages may appeal particularly to mature students. This study used automatic data collection and surveys to obtain quantitative data, in order to compare the use of a CAI package, "Economics in Action"(EA), by mature and non-mature students in a first-year economics class. Qualitative data was obtained from interviews. A significant difference was found between mature and non-mature use of EA. Results show that, on average, mature students used EA twice as much as non-mature students. Reasons for this appeared to be their level of motivation, their desire for control over their learning, and their perception of the value of EA to their study of economics. Mature students also made themselves familiar with EA early in the semester. Non-mature students appeared to meet some "starting hurdles" in the use of EA. It appeared to take non-mature students the whole semester to "catch up" with the mature students in their attitude towards EA. With expanding numbers of mature students entering tertiary institutions, there is an increasing need to provide flexibility in learning. The findings of this study are significant in that they demonstrate that the provision of a CAI learning resource is perceived to be of value by mature students.
Source DOI
Creative Commons Rights
Access Rights