University of Tasmania
whole_DonovanWilliamFrancis1978_thesis.pdf (11.71 MB)

The design, development and evaluation of a personalized system of instruction in a Chemistry I course at a College of Advanced Education.

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posted on 2023-05-26, 22:40 authored by Donovan, W. F.(William Francis)
This thesis describes the design, development, and evaluation of a personalized system of instruction (PSI) in a Chemistry I course at an Australian college of advanced education. The research project had three main aims: 1. To design and develop integrated, self-paced theory and practical courses in Chemistry I using the PSI technique. 2. To construct a course evaluation model and to evaluate the Chemistry I course using this model. 3. To investigate the relationship between personality and performance of students in the PSI Chemistry I course and a more conventionally taught Biology I course. A description is given of the operation of the PSI Chemistry I course. Essentially the five major features of PSI, as identified by its founder, F.S. Keller, were incorporated in the course. These features were: self-pacing; mastery orientation; student proctors; an emphasis on written and oral communication; and motivational lectures. PSI derives its rationale from two major principles of educational psychology. Firstly, that students should be provided with a set of terminal behaviors which clearly specify outcomes; secondly, a system of rewards should be set up and managed so that their application is contingent upon positive behavior by the students. Personalized systems of instruction can be traced as an application of behavior theory in conjunction with the social aspect of treating individual students as important. The research design employed was based on the case study approach to the course evaluation process. A multiple methods evaluation strategy was developed to implement the model, with a particular extension of the model to self-evaluation by the instructor. The strategy involved formative evaluation in the initial design and development stages of the project. The process of course design and development was identified as comprising the first stage of the evaluation strategy. The second part of the strategy could be termed the illuminative stage in which major issues involved in the PSI course were identified and then focused on. The research methods used were: observation, feedback slips, analysis of course materials, questionnaires, interviews, outside evaluator assistance, student records, written comments, and a pre-test, post-test study of the relationship between personality and student performance. A feature of the PSI course was the demands it placed ‚Äö on the management of a complex teaching-learning system. As well as incorporating the elements of the original Keller plan, a PSI learning centre was designed and constructed in order to provide asuitable social learning environment. It was found possible, within the normal constraints of a college system, to run a resource efficient, cost-effective, innovative PSI program in Chemistry I. Performance of students in the PSI course, as measured by grades achieved, were at least as good as in the conventional course of 1973. The problem of procrastination and dropouts was successfully combated by several measures. From course questionnaire results it was concluded that students reacted very favourably to the PSI Chemistry I course and that their interest in the subject had increased during the course. A pre-test, post-test study of the relationship between personality and performance was carried out. Overall, the results suggested that conscientious, responsible, and conforming students performed well in both a traditional biology course and the PSI Chemistry I course. In particular, however, it was found possible to pre-determine from personality profiles which students had greater probability of being at risk in the PSI Chemistry I course. Such students had personality profiles whose Californian Personality Inventory scores varied, in any direction, by large amounts from the mean scores. A further finding was that divergent thinkers were more likely to succeed in PSI Chemistry I than convergent thinkers.


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Copyright 1977 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Includes bibliographical references. Thesis (M.Ed.) - University of Tasmania, 1978

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