Date of Award

Winter 2005

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Dwight W. Allen

Committee Member

John Nunnery

Committee Member

Chris Lovell


Feedback is an essential component of effective learning. The advent of the internet as a delivery mode for distance education has expanded the access many people have to higher learning. Despite many advantages that online courses provide for distance learning students, they often lack real time feedback. A software intervention called the Interactive Question Protocol was designed for this study to provide automated, real time feedback. That treatment was then contrasted against changes in student achievement, satisfaction and participation. Learners can be categorized by Perry's scheme of mental maturity according to how they understand and interpret the knowledge they acquire. Learners with low cognitive complexity levels are likely to appreciate basic automated feedback, while those with greater mental maturities are likely to be frustrated by a lack of true interaction. Therefore, Perry grouping was contrasted against changes in student achievement, satisfaction and participation for each subject. This study sought to discover if automated real time feedback had an effect on student achievement, participation and satisfaction. Similarly, it sought to discover if the same three variables were affected by cognitive complexity. Interactive effects between cognitive complexity and feedback treatment were also examined. No significant effects were found. The feedback treatment did not highlight group differences in achievement, satisfaction or participation. Group comparisons between the lower end of the cognitive complexity index scale also confirmed the null hypothesis. Sample sizes proved insufficient to compare subjects in Perry's higher end groups 4 and 5. No interactive effects were found between independent variables. These findings do not refute the obvious value of feedback. Further studies may use a larger sample size to better compare Perry's groups. More feedback complexity, along with the complexity of learning tasks may also be varied to investigate the impact of feedback on achievement, satisfaction and participation.


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