Year of Publication

2006

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Educational and Counseling Psych

First Advisor

Dr. Henry P. Cole

Abstract

Because of increased commuter traffic volume on rural roadways collisions between motor vehicles and farm equipment have increased in frequency and severity over the last several years. This study investigated the effects of a multimedia narrative simulation program that taught hazard recognition and promoted defensive driving on rural roadways shared by farm equipment. A companion animated driving game allowed users to practice reaction/stopping time distances with a simulated automobile on a simulated highway when objects appeared suddenly in the path of the automobile. The program and game were delivered by an objective-oriented client/server computer program that also recorded and stored student pre-test, performance, and posttest data.

Prior to the main study a user test and pilot study were conducted. Fifteen instructional systems design graduate students completed the user test to evaluate the study procedures and debug the program. Then, a pilot study sample of 17 rural high school students completed the narrative simulation exercise, the reaction/stopping time game, and the study measures that included a demographic survey, pre- and post measures of predicted reaction/stopping time, recognition of collisions hazard cues, numerical performance scores for the simulation exercise, and tracking logs of each student's performance during the animated raction/stopping time game.

The main study sample included 123 students age 16 years and older who attended four rural and suburban county high schools. The schools were randome assigned to the four treatment conditions, one control and three treatment groups. The treatment group students completed either (a) the multimedia narrative simulation only, (b) the animated reaction time/stopping time game only, or (c) both the multimedia simulation and the reaction time/stopping time game.

As hypothezised, students in the groups that completed the hazard recognition and defensive driving skills performed significantly better on posttests of those skills than students in groups that did not complete the simulation. Compared to students that did not complete the reaction/stopping time game, significantly more students that did complete the game became aware that they could not stop the simulated automobile before hitting an object in its pathway. Yet there was nodifference across the four groups in students' estimates of reaction/stopping time distances.

Limitations of the study are noted and discussed. Recommendations for future studies are proposed.

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