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Effects of Task Goal On Learning to Use an Instructional Computer Simulation


    Judith A. Effken, PhD, RN

    Kimberly Shea, MS, RN


With Preitula's Cognitive Task Model as a conceptual framework, we used an experimental design to investigate how task goals interact with interface designs to affect usersí ability to learn to use a computer simulation. In the experiment, 16 nursing students were randomly assigned to one of two interface designs and asked to solve three physiologic problems with three different treatment goals. Students were given up to two minutes to solve each problem by administering six different simulated drugs. A mixed design analysis of variance was used to determine the effects of interface design and task goal on the number of problems solved, time to initiate treatment, percentage of time system maintained within normal parameters, and number of drugs used. Treatment goal affected studentsí performance primarily in how quickly they began drug therapy. The results suggest that task goal can interact with interface designs to affect learning to use an instructional computer simulation. 


Computer simulation, task goal, interface design, learning, Cognitive Task Model