Evaluation of Electronic Student Response Technology in an Introductory National Incident Management System Training Course

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By Kevin Milan

ABSTRACT

Research on Electronic Student Response Technology (ESRT) supports its use as an instructional strategy. This applied research project (ARP) investigated the use of ESRT in an introductory National Incident Management System (NIMS) course. The problem was the effect on NIMS test scores of using ESRT had not been compared to the effect of using Direct Instruction (DI). The purpose of this evaluative research was to determine the effect on NIMS test scores of using ESRT, and compare it to DI using the Solomon Four-Group experiment design.

The following null hypotheses were tested:

  1. There is no significant difference in total NIMS achievement test scores between firefighters randomly assigned to DI groups or ESRT groups.
  2. There is no significant difference in total NIMS achievement test scores between firefighters taking the pre-test and firefighters not taking the pre-test who were randomly assigned to DI groups or ESRT groups.
  3. There is no significant difference in total NIMS achievement test scores for the groups that resulted from the two way interactions, of ESRT and pre-test or DI and pre-test, between firefighters taking the pre-test and firefighters not taking the pre-test who were randomly assigned to DI groups or ESRT groups.

The study included 84 (N=84) firefighters, serving the City of Golden, Colorado, who were randomly assigned to control and treatment groups. The control group received DI only, and the experimental group received instruction supplemented with ESRT. A 2x2 factor analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed significant differences in mean scores on a standardized Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) post-test. The ESRT group obtained significantly higher test scores. The recommendations were 1) to conduct further research on interactive instructional strategies, 2) to communicate the results of this ARP to others, and 3) to elevate this research to Level III in a larger scale study.