Effectiveness of Simulation Training on Transfer of Statistical Concepts
Lane, David M.; Tang, Zhihua
The effectiveness of simulations for teaching statistical concepts was compared to the effectiveness of a textbook. The variable Medium (simulation versus textbook) and Question specificity (Specific versus Nonspecific), were manipulated factorially. Question specificity was defined as follows: Subjects were presented with a scenario in which gumballs were sampled from an urn. Subjects in the “Specific” condition were given a specific question about the outcome of the sampling procedure to consider; subjects in the “Non-specific” condition were asked generally to consider what would happen. A no-treatment control was included. The subjects consisted of 115 college students. The dependent variable was performance on problems requiring subjects to apply what they learned to ill defined everyday problems. Subjects trained by simulation performed significantly better than those trained with a textbook. Subjects in the “Specific” condition performed better than those in the “Non-specific” condition, although the difference did not reach conventional levels of significance. These results support the increasing use of simulation in education and training.