Role of Multimedia Instructional Materials on Multicriteria Technology and Engineering Decisions

Studies have shown that it is difficult for people to deal with multicriteria decision-making situations.  Information technology tools such as Decision Support Systems and Expert Systems have been developed in order to help them in such situations.  Another tool that has been identified as helping managers understand complex engineering decision-making situations is multimedia instructional materials.  This research investigates the perceptions of business versus engineering students on improvement of their higher-level cognitive skills when they participated in a multimedia based case study that used an expert system to model a complex engineering and technical problem.

Two groups of students, business and engineering, participated in an experiment where they analyzed the case study and made their recommendations.  Two questionnaires measured their perceptions on the improvements achieved on different constructs.   A structural equations model was developed in order to test the research hypotheses with business students being the experimental group and the engineering students as a control group.  The major findings are: no significant relationship between student major and higher order cognitive skills improvement, business students perceived more higher-order skills improvement compared to engineering students, both groups perceived an improvement in learning-driven factor, and business students valued learning-driven factors compared to engineering students.  These results show that multimedia instructional materials were perceived to be very useful in making multicriteria engineering and technical decisions.

Mbarika, V., Sankar, C.S., Raju, P.K. (2003). Role of Multimedia Instructional Materials on Multicriteria Technology and Engineering Decisions. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education (A DSI Publication), Vol. 1, #2.

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