Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Learning

Committee Director

Richard Overbaugh

Committee Member

Philip Langlais

Committee Member

Terrell Perry


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of two elaboration strategies, elaborative interrogation questioning (EIQ) and summarization, on student comprehension, retention, and satisfaction in a self-paced online environment. There were four treatment groups: (a) Control (no treatment); (b) EIQ only; (c) Summarization only; and (d) EIQ and Summarization. Both undergraduate and graduate students (mean age = 25.84 years) volunteered and completed the study (N=191).

Results revealed a significant interaction between strategy type and age on comprehension. Older participants in the Control and EIQ/Summarization strategy groups comprehended more than the younger participants, and the younger participants in the EIQ and the Summarization groups comprehended more than the older participants.

Retention was tested one month later and was significantly affected by prior knowledge. Those with more prior knowledge had higher mean scores ( M=63.89) than those with less prior knowledge (M=58.03). Both the EIQ and summarization strategies—alone and in combination—while effective when tested immediately following module completion, were evidently not effective one month later. Learners with more prior knowledge of the to-be-learned material retained more information than those with less prior knowledge.

Lastly, satisfaction results revealed a significant interaction between age and gender and strategy type and age. As age increased, females were more satisfied than males, however as age decreased, females were less satisfied than males in the online instruction module. Furthermore, younger participants were more satisfied in the EIQ group than older participants, and younger participants were less satisfied in the Summarization group than older participants.

Specifically, participants using the EIQ strategy were 87 percent satisfied with this learning strategy, 86 percent were satisfied with the Summarization strategy, and 81 percent were satisfied using the combination of EIQ/Summarization strategies. Overall, 93 percent of the participants were satisfied with this self-paced online module.