A utilization study of programmed shorthand

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute


PURPOSE: The purposes of this study were (1) to try out a shorthand theory program in a high school first-year shorthand class to determine if it could be used successfully in place of a textbook; (2) to determine whether theory is learned better if programs are completed before class instruction is given, or if class instruction should precede individual work with the program; and (3) to determine it theory was retained during the second semester when no theory was being formally taught.

PROCEDURES: Sixteen students in the first-year shorthand class at Cumberland High School, Cumberland, Virginia, used programmed shorthand instead of a traditional shorthand book for the entire first semester of the 1964-1965 school year. Instruction was given on the first five lessons in class before the students attempted them on their own. For the next five lessons, the procedure was reversed and students worked the programmed lessons alone before they were presented in class. A theory test was given after every five lessons, yielding eight tests on the 40 lessons. Thus, there were four tests on lessons with prior class instruction and four tests on lessons without prior class instruction.

A theory test was given at the end of the first semester covering all theory. Six tests were given at two- to four-week intervals during the second semester, beginning six weeks after the end of the first semester. These tests were designed to measure retention or theory during the second semester when no theory was being formally taught.

CONCLUSIONS: The following conclusions were drawn from this research study:

  1. Students are able to learn shorthand theory from programmed shorthand.

  2. It made no difference in the case of the 16 students whether they did the programmed lessons with or without prior instruction in the classroom as evidenced by test grades.

  3. Knowledge of theory was not lost during the second semester when theory was not being formally taught.