Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Richard A. Saudargas

Committee Members

Donald Dickenson, Michael Johnson, Albert Wiberely


The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of informative feedback in CAI and to examine possible interactions between learning style and type of feedback. An additional focus of the study was a subject matter error analysis that provided the basis for two of the six types of feedback studied. These two types of feedback were hypothesized to be more effective than the four types of feedback that were developed without consideration for common errors in the subject matter.

The study involved a two factor (feedback and learning style) repeated measures design. The participants were 106 undergraduate students who completed the Inventory of Learning Processes (ILP), took a pretest, ran a concept teaching CAI lesson, and finished both an immediate posttest and a long term (two to four weeks) retention test.

The results indicated that the two types of feedback that were based on the subject matter error analysis (corrective [misconception] feedback and process feedback) were more effective that the types of feedback that were not related to the error analysis. Regarding learning style, the two groups (the deep, elaborative group and the shallow, reiterative group) did not differ on measures of immediate performance but were significantly different on the long-term retention test. The deep, elaborative learners retained more knowledge. This is consistent with theories on learning styles (Craik & Tulving, 1975; Schmeck, 1983).

The results of interactions between feedback and learning style were significant. The interaction comparisons suggested that shallow, reiterative learners benefited more consistently from feedback that was based on identified reasons for errors (both learning style groups benefited from this feedback, but the shallow, reiterative group benefited more consistently). The interaction comparisons also showed that the deep, elaborative learners benefited from a form of feedback that simply repeated and applied the concept definitions (as well as from corrective [misconception} feedback process feedback), while the shallow, reiterative learners performed significantly lower with this type of feedback. Compared to the deep, elaborative learners, the shallow, reiterative learners benefited more from the feedback designed to fit identified subject matter errors.

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