The effects of computerized problem-solving simulations on critical thinking skills of Baccalaureate nursing studies
Yuill, Nancy Carolyn Wiliams
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A 2-by-2 repeated measurement design was used to -determine the effectiveness of computerized problemsolving simulations for promoting development of critical thinking in nursing students. A convenience sample, composed of 30 baccalaureate students who were randomly assigned to the two study groups, participated in the experiences planned for the courses .in which the subjects were enrolled. The experimental group (n = 15) worked through computerized patient care simulations in addition to participating in the course experiences. Demographic information, collected on the Background Information survey, was used to describe the sample. The scores (M = 98.90, SD= 21.16) on the Nelson Denny Reading Test, a 136 multiple-choice item test, were significantly related(r = .65, p ≤ .001) to the ages of the subjects. The reading grade equivalents indicated that the subjects read at or above the ninth grade level as required for the Watson Glaser critical Thinking Appraisal (WGCTA), the 80 item multiple-choice measure of critical thinking. The results of an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) of the scores on the WGCTA indicated that there were no significant differences in posttests (Total M = 60.17, SD= 7.18) when the variability in the pretests (M = 56.97, SD= 8.22) was removed, F(1,28) = 0.03, R = .86. The grade averages for nursing courses completed prior to the study were used as the pretest measure for cognitive knowledge (H = 92.40, SD = 2.47). The grade for the course completed during the study was used as the posttest measure for this variable (M = 93.21, SD = 2.63). There were no significant differences in the grades at the end of the study when the effects of variability in the prestudy grades were removed, F(1,28) = 0.96, R > .OS. There were no significant relationships between age, years worked in health care, knowledge and critical thinking. Conclusions of the study were that the computer simulations had no effects on critical thinking. However, use of these programs was justified for adding variety to teaching methodologies.