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Evaluating the Effect of Multimodal Instructional Approach on Students’ Academic Achievement in Classification of Living Organisms

Ezekiel Akotuko Ayimbila , Alexander Nii Moi Pappoe
American Journal of Educational Research. 2022, 10(3), 141-148. DOI: 10.12691/education-10-3-5
Received February 08, 2022; Revised March 10, 2022; Accepted March 17, 2022

Abstract

This paper presents the effect of multimodal instructional approach on students’ academic achievement in classification of living organisms. 100 students (50 males and 50 females) were sampled for the study. The research design for the study was quasi-experimental design of two groups, experimental and control groups. Pretest was administered to all participants to determine their academic performance in biological classification. Multimodal instructional approach (MIA) and discussion method of instruction were adopted for teaching the experimental and control groups respectively. A posttest was administered to both groups to determine the effectiveness of the treatment. The results of both groups were analyzed using t-test. The pretest score proved that both groups were similar in academic achievement before the intervention (mean = 30.2, 30, t-value =0.18, p-value = 0.86, p>0.05). The posttest results of the male students in the experimental group differed significantly from their cohorts in the control group (mean =51.88, 40.84, t-value = 8.69, p-value = 0.000, p< 0.05). The posttest of the female students in the experimental group also differed significantly from their counterparts in the control group (mean =51.24, 41.24, t-value = 11.37, p-value = 0.000, p<0.05). Questionnaire was administered to the experimental group to determine their perceptions on MIA. Majority of students in the experimental group agreed that MIA was effective for teaching classification of living organisms. It was recommended that Biology tutors should be encouraged to adopt this instructional strategy when teaching classification of living organisms in order to cater for the diverse learning needs of learners in the class.

1. Introduction

The academic achievement of students cannot be attained positively if teachers failed to adopt innovative instructional approaches that are capable of engaging leaners fully in the teaching and learning process. For many years, the conventional method of teaching has been the most used method of teaching at the senior high school level due to lack of teaching and learning materials. This method involves listening, reading, naming, memorizing and recalling which do not lead to the development of critical thinking and inquiry skills of learners 1. The conventional instructional strategy also makes the learner passive in the teaching and learning process. Biology is not confined to reading and hearing but it also entails involving students in laboratory activities in order to help them develop observation, critical thinking and inquiry and problem-solving skills 2.

Biology facilitators need to adopt modern teaching methods that are capable of increasing leaners’ interest and participation in the classroom during the instructional process. There are varieties of instructional methods that are capable of engaging learners fully during teaching and learning. These instructional methods include; computer assisted instruction, multimedia instructional strategy, project-based method, demonstration method, concept mapping method, laboratory method, inquiry method, cooperative learning and field trip method 3.

Students have different learning preferences and facilitators need to identify the learners’ learning styles and find instructional approaches that will match their preferred learning styles in order to sustain their interest and enhance conceptual understanding 4. The increasing use of multimedia in teaching has provided a lot opportunities for facilitators to present content to learners in multiple modes such as text, video, audio, images, diagrams and animations 5.

According to Marchetti and Cullen 6 multimodal learning environment uses different modes to present content knowledge to learners for instance, verbal and non-verbal where the non-verbal modes include diagrams, charts, pictures, animations and illustrations. These modes help to cater for the diverse learning preferences of learners 7. There are students who learn best through auditory/verbal, visual, read/write and tactile/kinesthetic 8. There are others who learn best through a combination of two or more modes and such learners are known as multimodal learners. Thus, multimodal instructional strategy promises to be effective for such learners.

Multimodal presentation creates a suitable environment for learners to learn effectively 9. This instructional method makes teaching easier and faster for facilitators. Multimodal instructional strategy enables teachers to expose their students to a variety of diagrams, graphs, videos and animations which involves more of their senses 10. Abstract concepts are normally explained to student with the aid of pictures, diagrams and videos for easy understanding. When content is presented to learners using multimodal instructional approach, learners hear, see, touch and manipulate the material/ object presented to them while the instructor plays a facilitative role. This helps the instructor to capture the attention of the students 11.

1.1. Statement of the Problem

Classification of living organisms is considered as one of the difficult topics in Biology at the Senior High Schools in the Upper East Region of Ghana due to its broad nature. The researchers interacted with Biology tutors in the region on topics in Biology perceived as difficult by Biology students and classification of living organisms was one of the topics raised by all the facilitators.

A total of 120 final year students were sampled from the final year General Science students at Navrongo senior High School and were asked to list topics in Biology which they considered to be difficult to understand. Classification of living organisms, genetics, photosynthesis, respiratory system, nervous system, circulatory system, mitosis and meiosis were the topics listed by the students. Fauzi and Mitalistiani 12 investigated senior high school Biology topics that were perceived to be difficult by students and reported that students often had difficulties learning genetics, metabolism, classification of living organisms, cell division and coordination system. Hadiprayitno, Muhlis and Kusmiyati 13 also studied topics perceived as difficult by Biology students in State High Schools in Lombok Island and reported that classification of living organisms, nervous system, evolution, biotechnology, genetics and endocrine system are considered to be difficult by Biology students. The performance of students in Biology and classification of living organisms have generally been poor in Senior Secondary Schools in Kenya 14. It is against this background that the researchers deemed it necessary to explore the effect of multimodal instructional approach on students’ academic achievement in classification of living organisms at Navrongo Senior High School in the Kassena Nankana Municipality in the Upper East Region of Ghana.

1.2. Purpose of the Study

This study sought to investigate the effect of multimodal instructional approach on Senior High School Biology students’ academic achievement in classification of living organisms.

1.3. Specific Objectives of the Study

The specific objectives of the study were to:

1. Determine the difference between the pretest mean scores of male students in the control and experimental groups.

2. Determine the difference between the posttest mean scores of male students in the control and experimental groups.

3. Examine the difference between the posttest mean scores of female students in the control and experimental groups.

4. Examine the perceptions of the experimental group students on multimodal instructional approach.

1.4. Research Questions

The following research questions were addressed in the study:

1. What is the difference between the pretest mean scores of male students in the control and experimental groups?

2. What is the difference between the posttest mean scores of male students in the control and experimental groups?

3. What is the difference between the posttest mean scores of female students in the control and experimental groups?

4. What are the perceptions of the experimental group students on the multimodal instructional approach?

1.5. Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance:

HO 1. There is no significant difference between the pretest mean scores of male students in the control and experimental groups.

HO 2. There is no significant difference between the posttest mean scores of male students in the control and experimental groups.

HO 3. There is no significant difference between the posttest mean scores of female students in the control and experimental groups.

1.5. Variables of the Study

I. Independent variable: Multimodal Instructional Approach was the independent variable.

II. Dependent variable: Student’s academic achievement in classification of living organisms.

2. Literature Review

2.1. Theoretical Review: Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning

The theory of teaching and learning which underpinned this study is based on cognitive theory of multimedia learning. This theory was put in place by Richard Mayer and other researchers such as Sweller, Sordon, Chandler and Moreno. These researchers hold the belief that multimedia learning aids the way the learner’s brain retains and processes information. Mayer 15 defined multimedia learning as learning from words and pictures. This theory of learning presents a meaningful link between words and pictures and support learners more deeply than it could be with words or pictures alone 16. Mayer 15 asserts that verbal learning involves learning with printed words such as bullet points in slides presentation or words printed in a text book or spoken words. On the other hand, pictorial learning includes learning with animations, illustrations, diagrams, charts, videos, drawings and images.

The cognitive theory of multimedia operates on a three-component model. These components are; sensory memory, working memory and long-term memory. The sensory memory is a cognitive structure that allows learner to receive new information using the sense organs. The working memory is defined as a cognitive structure in which the learners consciously process information. The long-term memory is a cognitive structure which stores the learner’s knowledge base 17. This theory is based on three assumptions, dual channel assumption, limited capacity assumption and active process assumption. The dual channel assumption states that the human brain possess separate information processing channels for verbal and visual 18. For instance, the images, diagrams and illustration are processed in the pictorial channel and spoken words are processed in the verbal channel. There is only a limited amount of processing capacity available in the verbal and visual channel 18. The active processing assumption suggests that people construct knowledge in meaningful ways when they pay attention to the relevant material, organize it into a coherent mental structure and integrate it with their prior knowledge 15.

The cognitive theory of multimedia learning is very necessary for this study because it supports the view that the use of verbal and pictorial presentation during instruction allows learners’ brain to process more information in the working memory. It also helps the brain to retain more information. It also helps to cater for diverse learning needs of learners in the classroom 7 since information is presented to learners in multiple modes (verbal, audio-visual, and visual). This theory also provides support to the study because it helps facilitators to present ideas to students in different modes thereby enabling the facilitator to get the attention of the students during the instructional process. This helps the tutor to achieve the stated objectives of the lesson. Li and Kang 19 assert that the application of multimedia during teaching helps to enrich the amount of information presented to learners, and the teaching content and create an effective interaction between facilitator and students.

2.2. Empirical Review

The effectiveness of multimedia and multimodal instructional strategy has been investigated by a number of researchers. Aggarwal 20 explored the effect of multimedia teaching approach on students’ achievement in Biology involving 80 IX Grade students in relation to their learning styles. The findings of the study revealed that there was no significant difference between the pretest mean score of the experimental and control groups but after the intervention, the experimental group which was taught using multimedia approach performed significantly better than the control group that was taught using conventional teaching strategy. Impact of multi-instructional approaches on Biology students’ performance in the teaching and learning of Mendelian genetics at Abuakwa State College, Ghana was investigated by 21. The results proved that the students who were exposed to multi-instructional approaches performed better than those exposed to conventional teaching method.

In a related study, John, Musa and Waziri 22 evaluated the effect of multimedia teaching and secondary school students’ academic achievement in Biology at Yola education zone, Adamawa State, Nigeria. A sample size of 286 students was used for the study. The results of their study revealed that students who were taught using the multimedia instructional strategy performed far better than their counterparts who were also taught using conventional method.

In another study, Kuo, Hsiao and Yu 23 studied the effect of multimodal presentation system on learning outcome of elementary school students at two public schools in Taiwan. A total of 134 learners participated in this study. The results of the study proved that participants who were taught through multimodal presentation performed significantly higher than their cohorts who were taught through the traditional method. Akinoso 10 explored effect of the use of multimedia on students’ performance in secondary school mathematics in Lagos, Nigeria. The sample used comprised 60 senior secondary school students. The results proved that multimedia technique improved the academic achievement of students.

Satyaprakasha and Behera 24 investigated the effectiveness of multimedia teaching on achievement of 80 VIII Standard students in Biology at Bangalore, Karnataka in India and found out that multimedia teaching significantly enhanced achievement with respect to knowledge, understanding, application and total academic performance in Biology as compared to the conventional teaching strategy. Thomas and Israel 25 investigated effectiveness of animation and multimedia teaching on students’ performance in science in public secondary schools within Ado Ekiti State, Nigeria. A sample size of 100 students (50 males and 50 females) was used for the study. The results revealed that the experimental group students performed significantly higher than the control group students.

All the previous studies cited above underpins the effectiveness of multimedia and multimodal instructional approaches in improving students’ learning outcomes and further underscores the fact that it can be used to teach different subjects and even across different topics.

2.3. Research Gaps

A number of studies has investigated the effectiveness of multimedia and multimodal instructional strategies. Most of these studies focused on subject like Biology and Mathematics. Only a few studies have investigated the effect of multimedia and multimodal instructional strategies on learning outcome from specific subject area like Genetics, and from gender perspective. Furthermore, none of the studies cited in the literature has allowed students to evaluate their instructional experience. This study therefore, sought to fill these gaps while investigating the effect of multimodal instructional approach on students’ academic achievement in classification of living organisms at Navrongo Senior High School in the Kassena Nankana Municipality in the Upper Region of Ghana.

3. Methodology

3.1. Research Design

In this study, pretest-posttest equivalent group design was adopted to help evaluate the effectiveness of multimodal instructional approach in teaching classification of living organisms. The design made use of two groups, control and experimental groups. The groups were similar in academic achievement before they were exposed to the treatment. The control group (A) students were taught using discussion method of teaching and the experimental group (B) students were also taught using multimodal instructional approach. The layout for the study is as follow:

Where;

A: represents Discussion Teaching Method;

B: signifies multimodal instructional approach;

X1, X3; represents Pretest Achievement of students in the control and experimental groups; and

X2, X4; indicates Posttest Achievement of students in the control and experimental groups;

3.2. Population and Sample

The study was conducted at Navrongo Senior High School in the Kassena Nankana Municipality in the Upper East Region of Ghana. The population of the study consisted of all second-year General Science students. 100 students were sampled for the study. This was divided into two groups of 50 students each which was further divided into 25 males and 25 females. The two groups were called control group and experimental group.

3.3. Data Collection Instruments

The instruments used for data collection were pretest, posttest and questionnaire. The pretest and posttest items were selected from the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) past Biology questions from 1993-2018 which were found to be relevant to the content delivered to the students. The pretest and posttest were conducted by the researchers before and after the intervention for a period of four weeks. The pretest which was tagged Biological Performance Test (BCPT) was administered to both groups before the intervention. The posttest which was also tagged Biological Classification performance Test (BCPT) was administered to the students in both groups after the four weeks of treatment. Questionnaire was also administered to only the experimental group to determine the students’ perceptions on multimodal instructional approach. The control and experimental groups were taught using discussion method and multimodal instructional approach respectively. The lesson plans were prepared by the researchers on the following areas of classification of living organisms; Kingdom Plantae, Kingdom Animalia, Kingdom Protoctista, Kingdom Fungi and Kingdom Prokaryotae/Monera. The pretest and posttest were made up of forty test items each. Each test was divided into two parts, Part A and Part B. Part A was made up of thirty multiple choice questions. Each item has three distractors which reflected on students’ misconceptions in classification of living organisms and one key 26. Part B consisted of ten short answers questions.

3.4. Validity and Reliability

The instruments for data collection were given to two Biologists, senior lecturers at the University of Education, Winneba and two West African Examinations Council (WAEC) examiners to help establish their validity. The test items were pilot tested and the reliability of the items were determined using test-retest reliability coefficient. The reliability coefficient was found to be 0.73 and 0.78 for the pretest and posttest respectively which shows that the instruments were reliable.

3.5. Treatment/Intervention

Participants in the experimental group were taught through multimodal instructional approach. Students in this group were taught using videos, animations, simulations, real specimen, marker board illustrations, diagrams and charts. Specimens were provided for students to observe and identify their habitats, observable characteristics and adaptive features. Students in the experimental group were divided into groups and questions were raised by the facilitator and students in each group discussed among themselves and came up with their answers. The facilitator also discussed with participants, characteristics of the taxa. The facilitator also took students through the various Orders of Class Insecta.

4. Findings and Presentation

Both quantitative and qualitative data collected from the students were analysed using descriptive statistics (percentage, mean and standard deviation) and inferential statistics (independent student-test) using Excel, Microsoft Office version 2019. The t-test (independent student-test) was used to test the null hypothesis at 0.05 level of significance.

4.1. Research Question 1. What is the Difference between the Pretest Mean Scores of Male Students in the Control and Experimental Groups?

Table 1 is a summary of the pretest mean scores of male students in the control and experimental groups. From Table 1, the pretest mean score of students in the control group and experimental group was similar. The pretest mean score of students in the control group was 30.2 with standard deviation of 4.49. The pretest mean score of students in the experimental group was 30 with a standard deviation of 3.25. A null hypothesis was therefore established to determine the significant difference between the pretest mean scores of male students in the control and experimental groups.


4.1.1. Analysis of Research Hypothesis 1

Research Hypothesis One: There is no significant difference between the pretest mean scores of male students in the control and experimental groups.

From Table 1, the t-value and p-value are; 0.18 and 0.86 respectively. The p-value (0.86) is greater than 0.05. This proved that there was statistically no significant difference between the pretest mean scores of the male students in the control group and their counterparts in the experimental group. This is an indication that the male students in the control and experimental groups selected for the study were similar in academic performance before they were taken through the treatment process.

4.2. Research Question 2. What is the Difference between the Posttest Mean Scores of Male Students in the Control and Experimental Groups?

Table 2 is a summary of the posttest results of male students in the control and experimental groups. From Table 2, the posttest mean score of the male students in the control group was 40.84 with standard deviation, 5.16. The posttest mean score of the male students in the experimental group was 51.88 with a standard deviation of 3.69. A null hypothesis was formulated to test for significant difference between the posttest mean score of male students in the control and experimental groups.


4.2.1. Analysis of Research Hypothesis 2

Research Hypothesis Two: There is no significant difference between the posttest mean scores of male students in the control and experimental groups.

From Table 2, the t-value was 8.69 and the p-value was also 0.000. The p-value was far less than 0.05. In the light of this result, the null hypothesis was rejected. This proved that there was statistically significant difference between the posttest mean scores of the male students in the experimental and control groups. This also revealed that the treatment given to the experimental group was highly effective and hence resulted in significant academic achievement of the students in that group than those in the control group.

4.3. Research Question 3. What is the Difference between the Posttest Mean Score of Female Students in the Control and Experimental Groups?

Table 3 is a summary of the posttest results of the female students in the control and experimental groups. From Table 3, the posttest mean score of the female students in the control group was 41.24 with standard deviation 3.09. The posttest mean score of female students in the experimental group was 51.24 with standard deviation 3.72. To see if there was significant difference between the posttest mean score of the female students in the control and experimental group, a null hypothesis was formulated.


4.3.1. Analysis of Research Hypothesis 3

Research Hypothesis 3: There is no significant difference between the posttest mean scores of female students in the control and experimental groups.

From Table 3, the t-value was 11.37 and the p-value was also 0.000. The p-value is less than 0.05. In the light of this result, the null hypothesis was rejected. This showed that the posttest mean score of the female students in the experimental group differed significantly from their counterparts in the control group. This proved that the intervention was very effective.

4.4. Analysis of Research Question Four

Research Question 4: What are the perceptions of students in the experimental group on MIA in teaching classification of living organisms?

To answer the fourth research question regarding students’ perceptions on MIA, percentage, mean and standard deviation were calculated from the responses of the students. The students indicated their level of agreement with each questionnaire item on a scale that ranged from 5=Strongly Agree (SA), 4= Agree (A), 3= Uncertain (UC), 2= Disagree (DA) to 1= Strongly Disagree (SD).

The generality of the responses of the students in the experimental group showed a high level of agreement with an average mean of 4.22 and standard deviation 0.73 on the use of Multimodal instructional approach in teaching classification of living organisms. This proved that the students found MIA to be an effective method that helped them to learn.

5. Discussion, Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1. Discussion

The main purpose of the study was to evaluate the effect of multimodal instructional approach on students’ academic achievement in classification of living organisms at Navrongo Senior High School in the Kassena Nankana Municipality in the Upper East Region of Ghana.

There was statistically no significant difference between the pretest mean scores of male students in the control and experimental groups. This proved that the sample used for the study was drawn from a student population that was similar in academic achievement before the treatment. This finding is in line with Koseoglu and Efendiogu 27 who studied how a multimedia tool helped students learning performance in complex Biology and revealed that there was no significant difference between the pretest mean score of the students in the control and experimental groups.

Another finding of the present study is that there was statistically significant difference between the posttest mean score of the male students in the control and experimental groups. This means that when students are taught classification of living organisms using multimodal instructional approach, they will perform better than students taught through discussion or conventional teaching strategy. This finding agrees with earlier finding by Satyaprakasha and Sudhanshu 28 who explored the effect of multimedia teaching on students’ academic performance in Biology and found that students who were exposed to multimedia teaching approach performed significantly higher than those exposed to conventional teaching method. This finding is also consistent with that of Kapri 29 who investigated into the impact of multimedia teaching in science and revealed that there was a significant improvement in the posttest mean score of students who were taught through multimedia compared to their counterparts who were also taught using conventional method.

A further finding of the current study is that there was significant difference between the posttest mean score of female students in the control and experimental groups. This finding is in agreement with Satyaprakasha and Behera 24 who researched on effect of multimedia teaching on achievement in Biology and observed that students who were exposed to multimedia performed significantly higher than their cohorts who were taught with the lecture method of teaching. This finding is also consistent with John et al. 22 who explored the effect of multimedia instructional strategy on students’ academic achievement in Biology and indicated that students who were exposed to multimedia performed significantly far better than their colleagues who were also taught by means of the conventional teaching strategy.

Finally, students in the experimental group perceived that MIA was an effective method that helped them to learn and improve on their academic performance in classification of living organisms. Thus, participants in the experimental group had an affirmative perception about the use of Multimodal Instructional Approach in teaching classification of living organisms as majority of them shared the same opinion. They had a mean agreed perception of 4.22 with a standard deviation of 0.73.

5.2. Conclusion

The study investigated the effect of multimodal instructional strategy on students’ academic achievement in classification of living organisms. The conclusion was drawn based on the findings or results of the study. The study found that multimodal instructional strategy was very effective for teaching classification of living organisms at Navrongo Senior High School. The study also found that multimodal instructional approach was effective for improving the academic achievement of male and female students in classification of living organisms. Students who were taught through multimodal instructional approach performed significantly higher than their counterparts who were taught by the use of the discussion teaching strategy. The findings proved that multimodal instructional approach motivates students, increases their interest, makes the lesson practical and also increases the critical thinking skills of leaners.

5.3. Recommendations/Educational Implications

The positive effect of multimodal instructional approach in classification of living organisms resulted in the following recommendations by the researchers.

In this study, multimodal instructional approach was found to be superior to the discussion method of teaching hence

• Biology tutors should adopt this teaching strategy for teaching classification of living organisms.

• Teacher trainees at the tertiary institution pursuing science education should be exposed to instructional strategies that are capable of improving the academic achievement of students.

• Curriculum developers should include this instructional strategy into the school curriculum to supplement the existing teaching strategies.

• The Ministry of Education, Ghana Education service, and Non-Governmental Organizations supporting education in Ghana should organize conferences, seminars and workshops for Biology teachers and science teachers in general on current instructional strategies that engage students fully during the teaching and learning process.

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Published with license by Science and Education Publishing, Copyright © 2022 Ezekiel Akotuko Ayimbila and Alexander Nii Moi Pappoe

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Cite this article:

Normal Style
Ezekiel Akotuko Ayimbila, Alexander Nii Moi Pappoe. Evaluating the Effect of Multimodal Instructional Approach on Students’ Academic Achievement in Classification of Living Organisms. American Journal of Educational Research. Vol. 10, No. 3, 2022, pp 141-148. http://pubs.sciepub.com/education/10/3/5
MLA Style
Ayimbila, Ezekiel Akotuko, and Alexander Nii Moi Pappoe. "Evaluating the Effect of Multimodal Instructional Approach on Students’ Academic Achievement in Classification of Living Organisms." American Journal of Educational Research 10.3 (2022): 141-148.
APA Style
Ayimbila, E. A. , & Pappoe, A. N. M. (2022). Evaluating the Effect of Multimodal Instructional Approach on Students’ Academic Achievement in Classification of Living Organisms. American Journal of Educational Research, 10(3), 141-148.
Chicago Style
Ayimbila, Ezekiel Akotuko, and Alexander Nii Moi Pappoe. "Evaluating the Effect of Multimodal Instructional Approach on Students’ Academic Achievement in Classification of Living Organisms." American Journal of Educational Research 10, no. 3 (2022): 141-148.
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  • Table 3. T-test summary of the posttest results of female students in the control and experimental groups
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