Optimizing Computer-Based Instruction in an Undergraduate Course

Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Richard W. Malott

Second Advisor

Dr. Jessica VanStratton

Third Advisor

Dr. Kelly Kohler

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Sacha Pence


Behavior analysis, computer-based instruction, CBI, programmed instruction, PI, ABA


Skinner advocated for the application of the science of behavior to all levels of education, although primarily K-12, and he introduced teaching machines and programmed instruction (1954). Computer-based instruction (CBI) is an ever-growing technology for training personnel in business and organizational settings. However, this remains an under-represented area of research in behavior analysis. The purpose of this research was to conduct two studies to compare the effects of CBI on student performance. In study one, we assigned participants to either a CBI chapter or text-based chapter. The independent variable was the type of instruction (CBI versus text-based), and the dependent variable was students’ post assessment scores. In study two, we assigned participants to one of two CBI homework assignments: feedback with answer until correct (AUC), or feedback with knowledge of the correct response (KCR). AUC required the participant to select the correct response on a knowledge check question before they could advance to the next instructional frame, whereas KCR presented the correct response as feedback when the participant selected an incorrect response. The independent variable was the type of feedback, and the dependent variable was students’ post-assessment scores. Results for study 1 show that CBI results in higher post-assessment scores, although only one semester resulted in a statistically significant difference. Results for study 2 were varied across all CBI homework assignments, with only one assignment resulting in a statistically significant difference, with AUC being superior to KCR.


Fifth Advisor: Dr. Steven Ragotzy

Access Setting

Dissertation-Abstract Only

Restricted to Campus until


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