Thursday, 20 September 2012

Impact on knowledge retention?

Mark Collins made an interesting comment at yesterday's research meeting. Something along the lines of 'would I be testing their spatial knowledge at a subsequent time point in order to identify any differences in knowledge retention?'

It's a good point and not something I had really considered before. For one thing I hadn't constructed any research questions related to this point. The ethical issues associated with the design of my study also kind of preclude longitudinal testing to assess knowledge retention as participants need to be offered experience in the alternative arm (intention or control) after the  post-test in case there is any difference in knowledge enhancement. If this wasn't offered then one group may be advantaged and attain better module scores as a result. Possibly. So, it would therefore be impossible to assess differences in knowledge retention between the study arms as participants will have had exposure to both intervention and control.

It may still be an interesting phenomenon to explore in a subsequent project although a number of other studies have found NO significant differences in knowledge retention between VR and conventional teaching methods. e.g. see here (with regards engineering)  or here (Hall 1998). There may be a difference in knowledge retention, however, where the relevant knowledge depends on spatial 3D cognition (e.g. navigation) so could be something to consider further in the future. For the time being though I don't think it has a place in this work.

1 comment:

  1. My supervisor, Heidi, got in touch with regards this post expressing some concerns that *not* assessing differences in knowledge retention might lead to criticisms over the design and that it might be possible to re-test spatial cognition BEFORE exposure to the alternative intervention as it has not been prescribed WHEN this exposure will be.

    This is a very fair point and I can't believe I didn't think of it. It would be easy to test participants' spatial cognition at say, 1 week and 1 month and THEN offer experience with the alternative model. There is slight possibility of contamination in between testing and it raises the question of whether me informing them of being re-tested at time points A and B will lead to them 'revising' for these tests where I don't want this to happen. An example of the Hawthorne Effect. i.e. they change their behaviour as a result of being involved in the study. Something to think about there.

    I will also need to include an additional research question of course.