An evaluation was conducted at Fox Valley Technical College during the 2004-2005 academic year to determine the effectiveness of learning objects. The assessment was performed twice, once to a group of 70 students enrolled in the DC Electronics course during the fall semester, and again to another 45 students enrolled in that course during the spring semester.
Students were randomly divided into two groups. The two groups worked on the same experiments and had access to the same lectures, textbooks, and video tapes. The difference was that Group B was assigned to view learning objects that pertained to the assigned material before the initial assessment while Group A was not.
Three identical quizzes were given to the two groups. Each quiz covered material presented in a separate unit of the DC Electronics class. The questions pertained to concepts with which students frequently had difficulty, and were presented at least once by each of the following sources: the textbook, lecture, videotapes, and lab experiments. The only difference between the two groups is that Group A was not assigned to view learning objects on these concepts while Group B was instructed to use them. The results showed that students who used learning objects scored significantly higher on the evaluations that those who did not use them.
In the first quiz given during the fall semester, students who had used the learning objects scored a collective 75 percent, compared with the 61 percent scored by the students who had used all of the other materials except the learning objects. For the second quiz, some of the groups of students were switched, with the students who had not been given initial access to the learning objects before the first quiz were now assigned to view them before this unit quiz. Again, the students who used the learning objects performed better on the quiz by a slightly higher margin than shown in the first quiz. The students who used the learning objects had a collective score of 72 percent, while the group that had not viewed the objects scored 56 percent. The third evaluation showed an even wider difference in scores of the students who had access to the learning objects compared with those who did not. The group that viewed the objects scored 78 percent, while the group that did not scored 57 percent.
The same assessment model was administered again during the spring semester with similar results. A comparison of scores for the three quizzes shows 71-57 percent, 71-61 percent, and 81-61 percent.
The three units were taught by seven instructors and involved 21 learning objects. All of the objects were interactive, requiring students to answer questions while going through the activity. Most of the objects were also animated, allowing electronics students to visualize such things as changes in current, voltage, and resistance.