An experimental investigation of the impact of using computer aided learning as a substitute for conventional instruction in two undergraduate accounting courses
The purpose of the thesis is to investigate the use of computer aided learning (CAL) in undergraduate accounting education and establish its potential as a medium of instruction. In the thesis the use of CAL in accounting is explored in three major stages: first, established educational theories of learning and instruction are reviewed to identify a conceptual framework within which appropriate research questions can be formulated, second, established educational research methods are explored to identify an analytical framework within which the research questions can be meaningfully addressed, third, elements of the conceptual and analytical framework are combined to devise an experimental framework within which the use of CAL in accounting can be assessed and evaluated; this framework is used to critically examine existing empirical studies of CAL in accounting and also to support an experimental analysis of two CAL applications. The results of the experimental analysis suggest that the use of CAL does not adversely affect student performance and that the courseware used in the experiments provides an acceptable alternative to conventional instruction; however, the analysis also suggests that a comprehensive insight into the efficacy of CAL can only be obtained through an appropriate combination of both quantitative and qualitative research elements. In addition, it is suggested that any future evaluation of CAL should consider its potential impact on student learning processes and the election of an ‘approach to learning’.