Besly, Alyssa Miel Adcock (2018-05)
The purpose of this study is to explore the potential benefits of simulation training technology as a supplemental tool for educators teaching students with autism spectrum disorder. Special educators have little to no access to simulations preparing them for a classroom environment prior to entering an actual classroom. Current methods for preparing special educators are mostly limited to traditional classroom and lecture material, followed by supervised student teaching. Simulation training is available in several industries, but is still predominantly lacking in the field of education. This author constructed two versions of a virtual simulation training module using visuals and text live action videos. The training modules were designed with branching pathways to allow users’ decisions to affect outcomes. This study compared pre-service teacher performances using traditional training material followed by a supplemental text-based simulation.
The author recruited 28 graduate students to participate in this study. Participants completed three assessments, one prior to exposure to any subject-specific material, followed by traditional, text-based material and a second assessment. Participants were then introduced to a subject-specific, interactive, virtual text-based simulation training, followed by a final assessment. Assessments were graded on a 100-point scale. Overall, assessments revealed an average increase in performance scores of 8.93 points after exposure to traditional lecture material, and increased again by another 9.69 points on average after exposure to the simulation training. The lowest quartile showed little to no improvement in performance. However, most participants showed marked improvement in performance scores. Further research is needed to determine the statistical significance of these outcomes.