Health, Medicine

Motivation in computer-assisted instruction



Computer-aided instruction (CAI) is defined as instruction in which computers play a central role as the means of information delivery and direct interaction with learners. Computer-aided instruction has become mainstream in medical school curricula. For example, a three-dimensional (3D) computer module of the larynx has been created to teach laryngeal anatomy. Although the novelty and educational potential of CAI has garnered much attention, these new technologies have been plagued with low utilization rates. Several experts attribute this problem to lack of motivation in students. Motivation is defined as the desire and action toward goal-oriented behavior. Psychologist Dr. John Keller developed the ARCS theory of motivational learning, which proposed four components: attention (A), relevance (R), concentration (C), and satisfaction (S). Keller believed that motivation is not only an innate characteristic of the pupil; it can also be influenced by external factors, such as the instructional design of the curriculum. Thus, understanding motivation is an important step to designing CAI appropriately. Keller also developed a 36-item validated instrument called the Instructional Materials Motivation Survey (IMMS) to measure motivation. The objective of this study was to study motivation in CAI.

Medical students learning anatomy with the 3D computer module will have higher laryngeal anatomy test scores and higher IMMS motivation scores. Higher anatomy test scores will be positively associated with higher IMMS scores.

Study Design

Prospective, randomized, controlled trial.


After obtaining institutional review board approval, 100 medical students (mean age 25.5 ± 2.5, 49% male) were randomized to either the 3D computer module (n = 49) or written text (n = 51). Information content was identical in both arms. Students were given 30 minutes to study laryngeal anatomy and then completed the laryngeal anatomy test and IMMS. Students were categorized as either junior (year 1 and 2) or senior (year 3 and 4).


There were no significant differences in anatomy scores based on educational modality. There was significant interaction of educational modality by year [F(1,96) = 4.12, P = 0.045, ω2 = 0.031]. For the total score, there was a significant effect of year [F(1,96) = 22.28, P < 0.001, ω2 = 0.178], with seniors (15.4 ± 2.6) scoring significantly higher than juniors (12.8 ± 3.1). For the motivational score, the total IMMS score had two significant effects. With educational modality [F(1,96) = 5.18, P = 0.025, ω2 = 0.041], the 3D group (12.4 ± 2.8) scored significantly higher than the written text group (11.7 ± 3.2). With year [F(1,96) = 25.31, P < 0.001, ω2 = 0.198], seniors (13.4 ± 3.0) scored significantly higher than juniors (10.8 ± 2.5). Pearson’s correlation showed positive associations (r = 0.22–0.91) between anatomy scores and IMMS motivation scores (P < 0.05).


Computer-aided instruction conferred no measurable educational benefit over traditional written text in medical students; however, CAI was associated with higher motivational levels. Computer-aided instruction was found to have a greater positive impact on senior medical students with higher anatomy and motivational scores. Higher anatomy scores were positively associated with higher motivational scores. Computer-aided instruction may be better targeted toward senior students.

Level of Evidence

N/A. Laryngoscope, 2016

from #ORL via xlomafota13 on Inoreader

One thought on “Motivation in computer-assisted instruction

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