Effects of a hypertext-based simulation in high school scuba instruction

Thumbnail Image
Erickson, R. Scott
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 1993
A study was conducted to investigate the effects of a hypertext - based computer simulation on the knowledge, skills and attitudes of students participating in a high school scuba program in Edmonton, Alberta. The study compared two groups of students: one which used the simulation as a supplementary (laboratory-type) activity, and another which was taught using traditional methods. The two groups received an equal amount of instrutional time. The simulation and non-simulation groups were found to be equilvalent at the beginning of the study with respect to age, gender, previous diving experience, previous computer experience, attitude toward computers and attitude toward diving. After instruction, the simulation and non-simulation groups were examined for differences with respect to knowledge, attitudes and behaviour, using the following measurement instruments: Knowledge: Marks from students' certification examinations were used as a measure of general diving knowledge. Attitudes: Students were post-surveyed for attitudes toward diving using a locally developed attitude scale. Behavior: Students were evaluated using a locally developed skills assessment to determine their degree of proficiency at out-of-air emergency skills. Reliability estimates for the locally developed instruments were .86, .88 and .93 for the diving attitude, computer attitude and out-of-air skills instruments, respectively. A series of t-test comparisons revealed no significant differences (p<.05) between simulation and non-simulation groups with respect to knowledge, skills and attitudes. The relationships between knowledge, skills and attitudes were examined using Pearson's correlation coefficient, and a significant (p<.01) positive correlation was found between the knowledge and skill measures, with r=0.69. A "diversion index" (DI=# of non-ideal cards in attempt/total # of cards in attempt) was calculated for each attempt made by each student on each of the scenarios. A pattern in diversion indices was revealed, and generalized into a model consisting of four stages: discovery, refinement, solution and exploration. This model is suggested as one way students may approach simulation learning. Six volunteers were interviewed to determine students' opinions regarding the effects of the simulation. Students stated that the simulation helped with the development of in-depth knowledge about out-of-air emergencies, but not with the development of out-of-air emergency skills. Students said that they liked the simulation and enjoyed using it. Implications of the study are discussed with emphasis on research methodology, diver education, and environmental education, and a number of suggestions for future research are offered.
xi, 142 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Scuba diving -- Study and teaching -- Simulation methods , Scuba diving -- Computer assisted instruction , Dissertations, Academic