Effects of Computer Simulations on the Achievement and Acquisition of Computer Skills in Computer Science by Secondary School Students


Master's Thesis, 2021

159 Pages, Grade: 5.00


Excerpt

Contents

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
Purpose of the Study
Significance of the Study
Scope of the Study
Research Questions
Hypotheses

CHAPTER TWO
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Theoretical Framework
Bruner’s constructivist theory of learning
Cognitive Load Theory (CLT)
Fitts and Posner’s multi-stage theory of psychomotor skills
Theoretical Studies
Computer Simulation and its types
Influence of Computer Simulation on students’ learning
Merits and Demerits of Using Computer Simulation
Use of Simulation in Science teaching
Empirical Framework
Studies on computer simulation
Summary of Literature Review

CHAPTER THREE
METHOD
Research Design
Area of Study
Population of the Study
Sampling and Sampling Techniques
Instruments for Data Collection
Computer Achievement Test (CAT)
Computer Practical Skills Acquisition Test (COMPSAT)
Instructional Tools
Validation of the Instrument
Reliability of the Instruments
Administration and Scoring of the Instrument
Experimental Procedure
Validation of Lesson Plan
Training of Teachers for the conduct of the study
Control of Extraneous variables
Method of Data Collection
Method of Data Analysis

CHAPTER FOUR
PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA
Research Question 1
Research Question 2
Research Question 3
Research Question 4
Hypotheses Testing
Hypotheses 1
Hypotheses 2
Hypotheses 3
Hypothesis 4

CHAPTER FIVE
DISCUSSION OF RESULT, CONCLUSION, RECOMMENDATION AND SUMMARY.
Discussion of Results
Conclusion The results of this study establish the following:
Educational Implications of the Study
Recommendation
Limitations
Suggestion for Further Study
Summary of the Study

REFERENCES

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

The recent advances in computer science are so vast that it finds applications in nearly all fields of study. Computer Science which is deeply concerned with how computers and computer systems work, and how they are designed and programmed influence fields such as biology, chemistry, linguistics, psychology, economics and statistics. It allows us to solve problems, design systems and understand the power and limits of human and machine intelligence. It is a skill that empowers, and which all students should be aware of and have some competence in. Students studying computer science gain insight into computational systems of all kinds, whether or not they include computers. As such, students who can think computationally are better able to conceptualise and understand computer-based technology, and so are better equipped to function in modern society.

The benefits accruing to computer science application is such that nearly all discipline finds it indispensable. It is a core subject in primary and secondary school curriculum. According to the Nigeria National Computer Policy (1988) in Toscany Academy (2012), the first objective of computer science study is to ensure that the general populace appreciates the impact of information and computer technology on today's society, the importance of its effective use, and the technologies that process, manage, and communicate the information. The second general objective is to ensure that the people of Nigeria will know how to use and program computers, develop software packages, understand the structure and operation of computers and their history, and to appreciate the economic, social and psychological impact of the computer. According to British Computer Society (BCS), the Chartered Institute for IT, (2012):

The study of computer science can satisfy a wide range of interest and abilities. It is essential that school children from primary school onwards are taught how to create digital technology and software for themselves. In particular this means school children need to be introduced to the scientific and engineering principles and concepts of Computer Science. Although technology changes ever more rapidly, the principles and concepts that they are built on do not. The Computing at School curriculum lays out these important principles and concepts in an exemplary form that is particularly suitable for secondary schools. We believe this curriculum will be of value to schools for decades to come (p.1).

The modalities and the strategies for achieving the stated objectives and the numerous benefits of computer studies include: training teachers and associated personnel, hardware facilities, curriculum development, software developments and evaluation and maintenance of hardware and peripherals. These modalities however, have not been met at the various levels of computer studies especially in the primary and secondary schools (Jegede & Owolabi, 2012). Thus, to many secondary school students, computer science is a thorn in the flesh due to how abstractive the concept seems to appear. This has also affected the students’ computer science achievement and is well reflected in the students’ poor performances in data processing in the West African School Certificate Examinations (Ogunbanwo, 2014). Despite the considerable relevance of computer to human existence and despite the enviable position it occupies in the community of different disciplines, students’ achievement in the subject at public examination has continued to worsen year after year (Sam, 2011).

A number of factors is said to affect students’ achievement in secondary school subjects. However, that of computer science is peculiar. Over the years computer science instructors have identified various causes of difficulties of students in learning and usage of the computer. According to Achor (2003), the difficulties of students in learning computer science could be attributed in the past, to the approach used in presenting the subject contents to students, the abstractness of computer science concepts and poor foundation among others. Ezeliora (2004) opined that several variables ranging from the teaching methods, learners themselves, the teachers, textbook, the curricula, the school environment are among the factors responsible for students’ poor achievement in computer science. Some of the factors implicated by Ogbeba (2009) are: teachers’ lack of the adequate computer knowledge and of its practical aspects, absence of the computers in schools for practice, students’ lack of interest due to lack of computers for practicals, power fluctuation, extra charges for using school computers, type and nature of public examination items and the difficulties with in-experienced teachers in teaching most of the subject’s topic. Furthermore, Ogbeba (2009) indicated that, it’s not only the method of teaching, attitude of the teachers that teach the subject that leads to student poor performance in computer studies but also students’ lack of adequate computer skills.

Acquisition of basic computer skills is very important in learning of computer science concepts because when a student is efficient in handling of computer system, the student is likely to perform positively in the subject. Computers are everywhere today so it is normal for children to develop computer skills quickly and early, starting from how to handle and click the mouse properly to navigating and typing with the keyboard. Meaningful computer learning can only be said to have taken place if students can apply what is learnt in the operation of the computer. This is because computer knowledge is a practically-oriented subject which will be used now or later in the future. The subject matter of computer science emphasizes operating computer through possession of adequate computer skills and proficiency, not just the knowledge or theories behind the computer operation. In understanding the true meaning and concept of computer skills, the first meaning that comes to mind is being able to make the computer do what you want it to do (Dvv international, 2015). According to wisegeek.com (2015), "Basic computer skills" is a term that is used to identify the essential skills needed in order to make use of a computer. The scope of skills that are considered basic varies from one situation to another. For example, in an organization, one employer may consider the ability to make use of a specific type of word processing software to be among the basic skills required, while a different employer will place more emphasis on the ability to work with electronic spreadsheets. Trade schools and some business colleges offer courses that introduce students to basic computer skills most commonly required by employers, making it easy to secure the knowledge needed to identify and own these skills.

As a basis for making use of a computer, basic computer skills will often start with understanding how a particular operating system functions in terms of the creation and placement of taskbars on the computer desktop, how to make use of a computer mouse to utilize the programs installed on the hard drive, and even how to go about using an email program to create, send, and receive emails. Tasks such as searching for files on a hard drive are often also considered basic skills that any user should know and be able to perform with relative ease. In some cases, training on how to conduct searches using an Internet browser will also come under the heading of basic operational skills.

Basic computer skills required for students may include being familiar with different types of software programs used in the office environment. Having a working knowledge of word processing programs, spreadsheet software, and presentation software used to create simple slide presentations. Others may also require that students at higher level should be able to work with some type of information database, both in terms of adding or updating data in the system and retrieving that data in order to generate reports. Furthermore, basic computer skills form the foundation for being able to make efficient use of a computer and any programs loaded onto the computer system. Becoming well-versed in different office suites, including how to manage simple tasks such as creating graphs and charts, copying and pasting data from one source to another, and even printing documents and envelopes will likely be among the skills many educational activities such as taking a computer based test or examination in computer may require. By taking the time to acquire these basic skills, an individual increases the chances of performing better in their academic work, securing a job in an office environment, possibly being able to move up in the company as time goes on and becoming useful and better in life in-general.

A lot of basic computer skills have being highlighted by so many authorities like Dvv internation (2015), Connection academy (2015) and john sentongo, Robert kyakulaga & Isreal kibirigi (2013) that a child should posses before the end of his / her secondary school education and these skills are categorized into seven groups namely; typing ability, digital communication, online etiquette and safety, knowing the basic usage of Microsoft office packages, Computer file organization, using the web browser and the ability to carry out online researches, once the student has mastered the above skills they would be ready and fit to cover more sophisticated concepts of information and communications technology and perform better in their studies (Connection Academy, 2015).

Acquisition and mastery of computer practical skills cannot be done in isolation or independently without the help of a tool which can enhance or facilitate meaningful learning and also serves as guidance to impacting the skills in the students. Computer simulations possess the necessary skills and ability a student needs to retain within themselves or learn a new concept permanently in computer science, both in the ability to handle / operate a computer effectively and also in other science subjects such as chemistry, biology and so on, (John Sentongo, Robert Kyakulaga & Isreal Kibirigi, 2013). Therefore, Student’s deficiency in acquiring the appropriate basic computer skills which is required for a meaningful academic performance both in practical classes and for examinations in computer science in the perception of the researcher could be overcome through the use of computer simulations.

Computer simulation (SIM) according to Edutechwiki (2015) is an attempt to model real-life or hypothetical situation on a computer so that it can be studied to see how the system works. It could also be seen as a computer programme that attempts to model the behaviour of a particular system. Computer simulation is described as a computer program containing a manipulable model from a given state to a specified goal state by directing it through a number of intermediate states. Thus, the simulation program accepts commands (inputs/instruction) from the user, alters the state of the model, and when appropriate displays the new state (possible outcome of inputted instruction). Video simulations which can be created or downloaded from various education host sites have been known to have positive and high correlations with students’ achievements and interest in various subject areas.

According to Ton and Wouter (2007) common characteristics of educational computer simulations are:

1. Model Based: Simulations are based on a model. This means that the calculations and rules operating the simulation are programmed. These calculations and rules are collectively called “the model”, and it determines the behaviour of the simulation depending on user actions.
2. Interactive: Learners work interactively with a simulation’s model to input information and then observe how the variables in the simulation change, based on this output.
3. Interface driven: The value changes to the influenced variables and the observed value changes in the output are found in the simulation’s interface.
4. Scaffolding: Simulations designed for education have supports or scaffolds to assist students in making the learning experience effective. Step by step directions or small assignments which break the task down help the students as they work with simulations.

Simulations have a number of advantages over other instructional methodologies. Students, male and female alike have been shown to find active participation in simulations classes and with increasing interest (Innovative Teaching Concepts ITC, 2007). Simulations creates intrinsically motivating and closer to real world experiences than other learning modalities. Simulations have been shown to provide transfer of learning with the result that what is learned facilitates improved performance in real-world settings. Further, there is evidence to suggest that simulations may be more efficient modalities for learning in some content areas (Alessi & Trollip, 2007). Simulations can be very flexible, in such that both student and instructor can have a very high degree of control over simulations variables. Simulations can accommodate a wide range of instructional strategies, including microworlds, scientific discovery learning, virtual reality, laboratory simulations, role playing, case-based scenarios, and simulations gaming (Alessis & Trollip, 2001).

Through simulations, the male and female students are given the opportunity to practice on their own with a variety of situations which resemble “real-life” problems which they might face in the future or even when the computer teacher is not available to take the lessons at that particular time, students can make use of simulation software to learn ahead of time accordingly and guided by their scheme of work. And it is this type of practice, which they indicated enhances the learner’s problem solving skills (Akpan, 2001). Simulations are creative; students are organized into small groups, goals are set for individuals, as well as for the groups with which they work. The benefits of computer simulations which cannot be over-emphasized informed the need to investigate the effects of computer simulation on academic achievement and acquisition of computer skills of students in computer science.

Statement of the Problem

Over the years, the performances of students in computer science in Nigeria schools have been very poor. The concern about the performance of students in computer science especially the acquisition of adequate computer skills required for the competent operation of the computer has led to several suggestions for improvement.

It has also being observed that after spending numerous years in secondary school, students cannot handle some basic computer operations on their own without being helped or assisted.

They lack some basic computer skills and cannot effectively use the computer system independently, despite the availability of computer systems provided by the government in their schools and initiating policies that incorporates the use of computer system, then why should student still lack adequate skills in handling the computer efficiently?

Unfortunately a number of factors such as inappropriate teaching methods, lack of computer laboratory, lack of power which are required for hands-on learning experience in computer operation, have been pointed out in number of studies. Hence, Computer educationist and instructors are in search of innovative teaching methods and strategies that will enhance achievement and skill acquisition in computer science concepts.

Although some researchers such as Mouhib Alnoukari, Moustasem Shafaamry and Kinaz Aytouni (2013) have advocated the use of innovative strategies such as the computer simulation approach which incorporates inquiry and co-operative learning in teaching science and science related subjects (computer science education), no studies to the best of the researcher’s knowledge have investigated the effect of computer simulation in teaching senior secondary school class computer science concepts (Computer Application and Programming language). Based on the foregoing, the major issue of academic concern for this study posed as a question which is; what is the effect of computer simulations on students’ academic achievement and acquisition of computer skills in computer science?

Purpose of the Study

The major purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of computer simulation on the achievement and computer skills acquisition of secondary school students in computer science.

Specifically the study seeks to determine:

1. The effect of computer simulation on students’ achievement scores in Computer Science.
2. The effect of computer simulation on students’ achievement scores in Computer Science relative to their gender.
3. The effect of computer simulation on students’ skill acquisition scores in Computer Science.
4. The effect of computer simulation on the skill acquisition scores of male and female students in Computer Science.

Significance of the Study

The result of this study therefore can be of great benefit to students, teachers and instructors of computer science, educational administrators, and higher institution.

The result of this study will be of immense benefit to students as it would make them see computer studies as a simplified subject. It will also be a means of fostering creativity in their skills and cooperativeness between students and teachers.

- The result of this study will also be of immense benefit to the teachers of computer science because it will supply information that would enable him to make the right choice of teaching method when teaching computer.
- To the educational administrators, the findings of this study can provide information with which they can organize conference, workshops and training programmes for teachers so as to communicate to teachers the alternative models to the teaching of computer science for maximum comprehension. It can also guide them in the provision of necessary, relevant and accurate materials for effective learning and in restructuring the curriculum to include new innovations.

Finally, the result from this study can also provide more information for secondary school teachers, teachers’ training and tertiary institutions such as colleges of education and faculties of education of Nigeria Universities in teaching computer science.

Scope of the Study

The scope of this study revolves around the effects of computer simulations on the achievement and acquisition of computer skill of students in secondary schools. This study will be carried out with SSS 1 students in Awka South Educational Zone of Anambra State. The content scope includes topics on Programming language and Computer applications which includes word processing and presentation packages. The computer simulation approach and the lecture method will be used to investigate their effect on students’ achievement and acquisition of skills in computer science.

Research Questions

The following research questions will guide this study

1. What are the mean score of students taught computer science with computer simulations and those taught with lecture method?
2. What are the mean score of male and female students taught computer science with computer simulations?
3. What are the mean skill acquisition score of students taught computer science with computer simulations and those taught with lecture method?
4. What are the mean skill acquisition score and standard deviation of male and female students taught computer science with computer simulations?

Hypotheses

1. There is no significant difference in the achievement score of students taught computer science with computer simulations and those taught with conventional method.
2. There is no significant difference in the achievement score of male and female students taught computer science with computer simulations.
3. There is no significant difference in the skill acquisition score of students taught computer science with computer simulations and those taught with conventional method.
4. There is no significant difference in the skill acquisition score of male and female students taught computer science with computer simulations.

CHAPTER TWO

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

This chapter presents a review of literatures that are related to the present study.The relevant literatures related to this study were reviewed under the following sub-headings:

Conceptual Framework

Computer Simulation

Achievement

Computer Skill Acquisition

Theoretical Framework

Bruner’s Constructivist Theory of Learning

Cognitive Load Theory (CLT)

Fitts and Posner’s multi-stage theory of psychomotor skills

Theoretical Studies

Computer Simulation and its types

Influence of Computer Simulation of students’ learning

Merits and Demerits of Using Computer Simulation

Use of Simulation in Science teaching

Empirical Framework

Studies on computer simulation

Acquisition of computer skills in students

Gender as a factor in achievement in science

Summary of Literature Review

Conceptual Framework

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1: A diagrammatic framework of concepts in the study

Concept of Computer Simulation

Computer simulation in its real self is an attempt to model a real-life or hypothetical situation on a computer so that it can be studied to see how a system works. By changing variables, predictions may be made about behaviour of a system. According to EdutechWiki (2015) it could also be seen as a computer programme that attempt to simulate an abstract model of the particular system.

Thomas and Hooper (2001) described computer simulation as a programme containing a manipulable model of a real or theoretical system. The programme enables the students to change the model from a given state to a specified goal state by directing it through a number of intermediate states. Thus, the simulation program accepts command from the user, alters the state of the model, and when appropriate, displays the new state. Computer simulations are powerful tools for analyzing designing and interacting with complex systems or processes. Well-designed computer simulations provide a model of those elements most relevant to the immediate learning objectives. In addition, “they inform the instructor and the learner of aspects of the real-life system or process that have been simplified” or eliminated (Heinich, Molenda, Russell, Smaldino, 2000; sternberd 2001).

Effective computer simulation have been found to be most effective for learning when unimportant aspects of the real-life situation or process are eliminated from the simulation (Granland, Bergland & Eriksson, 2000). Simulations may prove to be a valuable medium through which educators can tap the power of the computer to help learners develop higher level cognitive processes and problem solving skills. Simulation can help student attain the peak of understanding in any subject and improve students’ academic achievement.

Academic achievement which by itself has been defined by several authors as the attainment of a student in a particular subject/course of any academic study stage. The term academic achievement to Ask.com (2016) refers to a student's success in meeting short or long-term goals in education. In the big picture, academic achievement means completing high school or earning a college degree. In a given semester, high academic achievement may mean a student is on the honor roll.

According to study.com (2016) Student achievement measures the amount of academic content a student learns in a determined amount of time. Each grade level has learning goals or instructional standards that educators are required to teach. Standards are similar to a 'to-do' list that a teacher can use to guide instruction. Student achievement will increase when quality instruction is used to teach instructional standards. Yourdictionary.com (2016) defined academic achievement as the level of schooling you have successfully completed and the ability to attain success in your studies. When you receive great grades, this is an example of academic achievement. When you attend college and graduate school, this is an example of academic achievement.

Academic achievement represents performance outcomes that indicate the extent to which a person has accomplished specific goals that were the focus of activities in instructional environments, specifically in school, college, and university. School systems mostly define cognitive goals that either apply across multiple subject areas (e.g., critical thinking) or include the acquisition of knowledge and understanding in a specific intellectual domain (e.g., numeracy, literacy, science, history). Therefore, academic achievement should be considered to be a multifaceted construct that comprises different domains of learning. Because the field of academic achievement is very wide-ranging and covers a broad variety of educational outcomes, the definition of academic achievement depends on the indicators used to measure it. (Oxford bibliographies, 2016).

A number of authors have argued that in science courses, classroom simulation potentially have an important and valid role in creating virtual experiments that allow students to use instruments and monitor experiments, test new models and improves their intuitive understanding of the complex phenomena and this has being effective in improving students skills level. Heinich et al (2000) indicates that simulation can help students to identify relations between components of a system to learn about the system and to control them. Through simulation the learner is given the opportunity to practice with a variety of situations which resemble “real-life” problems which they might face in future, hereby increasing the skills of students in their respective field. Simulation encourage the acquisition skills by applying what the student already knows to a unique situation and thus, strive for a higher level of cognitive functioning by providing the student with a variety of response. Simulation can also provide students with proper instructional method and learning environments in which students can practice and develop meaningful practical skills in the handling of the computer system.

The term computer literacy is often used interchangeably with the word Computer skills acquisition or Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills illustratively, when someone is skilled in the operation of computer the person is said to be a computer literate person, the term Computer literacy has been commonly used since the mid-1990s, but it has never had a uniform definition because different authorities have their definition.

According to Lowe and McAuley (2002) defined information and communication technology literacy as the skills and abilities that will enable the use of computers and related information technologies to meet personal, educational and labour market goals”.

As a basis for making use of a computer, basic computer skills will often start with understanding how a particular operating system functions in terms of the creation and placement of taskbars on the computer desktop, how to make use of a computer mouse to utilize the programs housed on the hard drive, and even how to go about using an email program to create, send, and receive emails. Tasks such as searching for files on a hard drive are often also considered basic computer skills that any user should know and be able to perform with relative ease. In some cases, training in how to conduct searches using an Internet browser will also come under the heading of basic operational skills, especially if the job position requires frequent research. (Connection Academy, 2015).

From Techopedia (2015), computer literacy also known as computer skills is the ability to use computers and related technology efficiently, with a range of skills covering levels from elementary use to programming and advanced problem solving. Computer literacy can also refer to the comfort level someone has with using computer programs and other applications that are associated with computers. Another valuable component is, understanding how computers work and operate. Computer literacy may be distinguished from computer programming which is the designing and coding of computer programs rather than familiarity and skill in their use.

The Basic Computer Skills highlighted by mindflash.com (2015) are including how to use a mouse, keyboard and typing skills, opening and closing files, accessing data from a CD-ROM, how to locate saved files, how to copy and paste text, review questions, activities, and a quiz. This quiz answering involves students taking online or offline computer based tests for both in school and external examinations, and the skills for the operation of the computer are highly required in other to have a good outcome, not only preparing manually but also being skilled in operation of the computer.

Computer simulations facilitate “interactive practice” of real-world skills by focusing on essential elements of a real problem or system (Heinich, Molenda, Russell & Smaldino, 2000). Computer simulation can communicate complex and technical scientific information similar to interactive museum exhibits (Saul, 2001). A well-designed computer simulation can engage the learner in interaction by helping the learner to predict the course and result of certain actions, understand why observed event occurs, explore the effects of modifying preliminary conclusions, evaluate ideas, gain insight and stimulate critical thinking. Computer simulations can also provide the learner with feedback throughout the learning process (Granland, Bergland & Eriksson, 2000). Because computer simulations are flexible and dynamic, they can guide the learner in the achievement of specific learning goals (Gibbons, Fair-Weather, Anderson & Merrill, 2002).

In summary of the above concepts reviewed in various literatures, it was observed that computer simulation is an attempt to model a real-life or hypothetical situation on a computer system so that it can be studied to see how the system works in a real life situation, in some cases, by changing variables, predictions of the simulated model, it will definitely make the behaviour of the modeled system to change according to the changes made, Educationally, it was also seen that computer simulations are flexible and dynamic, they can guide the learner in the achievement of specific learning goals and improve learners academic achievement. And on the other hand encourage the computer skills acquisition of students in computer science or any science courses which will enrich them in the ability to understand how the computer works and the usage of the computer to solve one’s own personal task.

Theoretical Framework

Bruner’s constructivist theory of learning

In 1966, Bruner wrote towards a theory of instruction, in which he explained how his idea might be translated into practice in the classroom. He advocated the introduction of the real process of a particular discipline to students. Bruner’s constructivist theory is based upon the study of cognition. A major theme in this theory is that “learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current/past knowledge (Kearsely, 2004). Cognitive structures are used to provide meaning and organization to experiences and allow the individual to go beyond the information given.

The three stages in Bruner’s theory of intellectual development are:

1. Enactive: Where a person learns about the world through actions on objects.
2. Iconic: Where learning occurs through using models and pictures.
3. Symbolic: Which describes the capacity to think in abstract terms.

Bruner’s underlying principle for teaching and learning is that a combination of concrete, pictorial then symbolic activities will lead to more effective learning. The progression is: start with a concrete experience then move to pictures and finally use symbolic representation. This is similar with the use of computer simulations which share similar features with those describe by Bruner.

According to Bruner, the instructor should try and encourage students to construct hypothesis, makes decisions, and discover principles by themselves (Kearsley, 2004). The instructor’s task is to translate information to be learned into a format appropriate in the learner’s current state of understanding and organize it in a spiral manner so that the student continually builds upon what they have already learned. This is inherent in the use of computer simulation which enables students to understand deeply what is being taught.

Bruner (1966) as cited in Kearsley (2004b) states that a theory of instruction should address the following aspects:

1. The most effective sequences in which to present material
2. The ways in which a body of knowledge can be structured so that it can be most readily grasped by the learner.

Bruner’s constructivist theory can be applied to instruction, as Kearsley (2004) surmises, by applying the following principles:

1. Instruction must be concerned with the experiences and contexts that make the student willing and able to learn (readiness).
2. Instruction must be structured so that it can be easily grasped by the student (spiral organization).
3. Instruction should be designed to facilitate extrapolation and or fill in the gaps (going beyond the information given).

The theory of Bruner can be applied in the teaching and learning of computer science since it involves discovery, readiness, explorative, initiative, innovative and to engage in self-discovery in the process of learning. The computer simulation approach is designed in such a way that they ensure continuity of understanding and that all of the above qualities are attained by the learner. The reason for adopting this theory for this study is because according to Bruner, the chief exponent of discovery learning is to provide facilities that help students learn on their own; this therefore underscores the need to explore the use of computer simulation in enhancing secondary school student’s achievement and enhancement of their skills in computer science.

Cognitive Load Theory (CLT)

Cognitive load theory (CLT), which states that the brain can only handle a limited amount of new information at a time, was developed by English researcher John Sweller in the late 1970s during his work with students and problem-solving experiments, and has been refined and clarified by various researchers since then. It is now a widely-used, research-based set of principles used to design more efficient instruction.

The limited capacity assumption states that there is a limit to the amount of information that can be processed at one time by working memory. In other words, learning is hindered when cognitive overload occurs and working memory capacity is exceeded (De Jong, 2010). DeLeeuw & Mayer (2008) theorize that there are three types of cognitive processing (essential, extraneous, and generative), He placed them in the triarchic model of cognitive load. Mayer (2009) made this model the organizing framework for the cognitive theory of multimedia learning and stated that a major goal of multimedia (computer simulation) learning and instruction is to manage essential processing, reduce extraneous processing and foster generative processing. The model is heavily based on Sweller’s cognitive load theory (Chandler & Sweller, 1991; Sweller, 1988, 1994).

According to Sweller, Van Merrienboer, and Paas (1998), there are three types of cognitive load: intrinsic, extraneous, and germane. Intrinsic cognitive load occurs during the interaction between the nature of the material being learned and the expertise of the learner. The second type, extraneous cognitive load, is caused by factors that aren’t central to the material to be learned, such as presentation methods or activities that split attention between multiple sources of information, and these should be minimized as much as possible. The use of computer simulation captures interest and reduces extraneous factors. This inspired the need to investigate the use of computer simulation approach to teach computer science. The third type of cognitive load, germane cognitive load, enhances learning and results in task resources being devoted to schema acquisition and automation. Intrinsic cognitive load cannot be manipulated, but extraneous and germane cognitive load can.

In the triarchic model of cognitive load, essential processing (intrinsic load) relates to the essential material or information to be learned. Extraneous processing (extrinsic load) does not serve the instructional goal or purpose and reduces the chances that transfer of learning will occur. Generative processing (germane cognitive load) is aimed at making sense of the presented material. It is the activity of organizing and integrating information in working memory. This can be achieved using the computer simulations and simultaneously informed the need for this study.

Meaningful learning is expected to enhance students’ achievement and acquisition of skills in computer science. The researcher therefore explored the use of computer simulation to determine its effectiveness in meaningful learning in a triarchic model of teaching.

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Details

Title
Effects of Computer Simulations on the Achievement and Acquisition of Computer Skills in Computer Science by Secondary School Students
College
Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka
Course
education - computer option
Grade
5.00
Author
Year
2021
Pages
159
Catalog Number
V1061415
ISBN (eBook)
9783346475985
ISBN (Book)
9783346475992
Language
English
Tags
effects, computer, simulations, achievement, acquisition, skills, science, secondary, school, students
Quote paper
Simeon AJUMOBI (Author), 2021, Effects of Computer Simulations on the Achievement and Acquisition of Computer Skills in Computer Science by Secondary School Students, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1061415

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