The contribution of computer-based activities to understanding statistics

Morris, E.J.; Joiner, R. and Scanlon, E. (2002). The contribution of computer-based activities to understanding statistics. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 18(2) pp. 116–124.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.0266-4909.2002.00219.x

Abstract

Psychology students often find statistical concepts difficult, and research has suggested that students can hold confusions about seemingly straightforward concepts, such as the mean. Although previous research has evaluated computer-based learning systems for statistics, there is little research that has looked specifically at whether particular computer-based learner activities contribute to students' understanding of introductory concepts in statistics. The study described in this paper was designed to investigate whether computer-based activities that provide multiple representations of concepts contribute to students' understanding of correlations and measures of central tendency. A pre-/post-test control group design was used involving 50 students who were studying psychology. It was found that activities involving the direct manipulation of data contributed to students' understanding of measures of central tendency as indicated by a significant improvement from pre- to post-test. However, findings indicated that computer-based activities of this kind did not necessarily contribute to students' understanding of correlations.

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