ERIC Number: ED334996
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: N/A
Interactive Media Audit Trails: Approaches and Issues.
Misanchuk, Earl R.; Schwier, Richard
This discussion of uses for audit trails in instructional research begins by pointing out that interactive media provide the learner with the opportunity to shape the program, and consequently, the learning experience. The paper focuses on one of the new questions for instructional designers that have come with the advent of these technologies, i.e., the determination of the effects of taking different paths through instruction. The audit trail is described as comprising all the responses generated by a learner going through interactive or hypermediated instruction, and the nature of audit trails is discussed in the context of the different types of program structures in which they are generated: linear; branching; and multimedia and hypermedia structures. Three distinct purposes to which audit trails can be put are identified and discussed: (1) as data collection devices for formative evaluation in instructional design; (2) as tools for basic research into the instructional design of computer-based instruction and hypermedia; and (3) as a means of auditing usage of mediated presentations in a public forum. Ways in which the audit trail could be used in quantitative research are considered, e.g., in a raw data matrix, to present data associated with each decision point (node) in the treatment, to represent non-parametric data in a Petit-Point Pattern, or as an audit trail tree combining graphical representations with numerical accuracy. Qualitative approaches are also discussed, e.g., content or document analyses and case studies. It is suggested that inferential approaches to the audit trail would be used when comparisons are being made between groups of learners or treatments. Advantages and limitations of the audit trail approach are considered, and a discussion of the issues and challenges raised by this approach concludes the paper. Seven figures are appended. (13 references) (BBM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audit Trails
Note: In: Proceedings of Selected Research Presentations at the Annual Convention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology; see IR 015 132.