Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


English language -- Alphabet -- Study and teaching (Preschool); Active learning;


This paper compares the effectiveness of two instructional approaches for teaching the names of alphabet letters to 5 and 6 year-old elementary students who were at risk for academic failure. The literature review examines investigations which had previously addressed the direct instructional model and parameters of active learning. In this context, a variety of perspectives regarding active learning are reviewed followed by a finer examination of self-corrective materials which was a unique component of the active learning paradigm used in this investigation. Nine (N = 9) elementary children were taught the names of five randomly chosen letters (upper and lower case) via the direct instructional technique and five randomly chosen letters (upper and lower case) incorporating an active learning approach, utilizing an electronically designed maze. The Electric Maze (six feet by eight feet) was composed of 24 one foot by one foot squares each of which could be programmed to beep if stepped upon. A single subject counter balanced repeated measures research design was used to determine the effectiveness of the two differing interventions in teaching alphabet letter names to each child in 10 minute daily sessions. Additionally, a nonparametric statistical test, the Wilcoxin Matched-Pairs Signed-Ranks Test (Siegel, 1956), was implemented to see if the direct instructional approach was statistically more effective in teaching alphabet letter names (alpha .05 level) than the active learning approach which incorporated the Electric Maze to provide immediate feedback to the learners regarding the correctness of their responses. Results from the Wilcoxin Matched-Pairs Signed-Ranks Test indicated that the direct instructional technique was significantly more effective than the electric maze (I= 7) at the alpha .05 level. Data compiled and charted for each student demonstrated that for seven of the nine students, the direct instructional technique was more effective in teaching them to recall alphabet letter names. In contrast, two of the nine students appeared to learn more alphabet letter names when the active learning Electric Maze was incorporated. These findings support the value and importance of teachers providing diverse instructional paradigms so students have the opportunity to learn under the conditions which are most conducive for their optimal learning. Further, the importance of students identifying the conditions which best promote learning for themselves is an important skill if they are to become self-determined learners. Strengths and limitations ot this investigation, as well as recommendations for further research, have been included.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Special Education

First Advisor

Donna Raschke


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Date Original


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1 PDF file (84 leaves)



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