The Effects of Embedded Question Type and Locus of Control on Processing Depth, Knowledge Gain, and Attitude Change in a Computer-Based Interactive Video Environment

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Virginia Tech

The differential effectiveness of two types of adjunct embedded questions in facilitating deep processing, increased knowledge gain, and increased positive attitude change was examined in this two-session laboratory study. In session one, subjects completed a measure of locus of control (LOC) orientation, as well as measures of pretest knowledge and attitudes regarding drinking. Two weeks later, stratified assignment was used to place 33 subjects (ages 12 to 15) in one of the three levels of question condition (no questions, factual questions, and inference questions) to study a computer-based instructional program about alcohol education during the second session.

Subjects assigned to either of the two embedded question conditions were asked to answer ten questions embedded between segments of interactive video. Depending on question condition, subjects were asked to provide factual information or draw inferences and conclusions regarding the previous video segment. After each question, subjects were asked to rate the amount of effort required to answer the preceding question. Control group subjects viewed interactive video without embedded questions or effort rating scales. Reaction-time trials were distributed throughout the multimedia program and were received by all subjects to establish a baseline reaction-time measure. Immediately following the instructional program, subjects completed posttest measures of knowledge and attitudes regarding alcohol.

Results provided limited support for the hypothesis that embedded questions would facilitate positive attitude change; however, embedded questions did not appear to facilitate knowledge gain. Results also provided support for the hypothesis that subjects with internal LOC orientations would be associated with greater positive changes in knowledge gain. Other hypotheses related to depth of processing were not supported by the results of this study. No differences were observed between embedded question types on the reaction-time and mental effort rating measures of depth of processing. Furthermore, no differences were observed across LOC orientation on either of the depth of processing measures. A number of methodological issues are thought to have contributed to this limited support of the hypotheses in this study. These issues, and their potential impact and solutions are discussed with respect to future research.

levels of processing, interactive video, attitude change, embedded questions, locus of control, knowledge gain