Perceived Effectiveness of Teaching Techniques in the Basic Interpersonal Communication Course: a Comparison Between the Traditional and Nontraditional Student


Regina Waters

Date of Graduation

Summer 1990


Master of Arts in Communication



Committee Chair

Gloria Galanes


The increase of nontraditional students to college campuses requires classroom instructors fo consider unique learning needs of older (over 25) students. Current literature does not accurately address these needs for instructors of basic courses. The primary research question behind this study is as follows: Is there a difference between traditional and nontraditional students in how effective they perceive teaching techniques used in the basic interpersonal communication course? Eleven instructors representing 17 sections of the basic interpersonal communication course at Southwest Missouri State University each implemented four techniques in each class section as prescribed by the researcher. One hundred fifty-seven students were asked to assess their perceived assignment, group discussion, role play, and lecture. Responses by the traditional and nontraditional students were compared. The subjects (51 percent traditional and 49 percent nontraditional) also completed the Kolb Learning Style Inventory and the James & Galbraith Perceptual Learning Style Inventory. The instructors' teaching styles were measured through the Principles of Adult Learning Scale. The results of this study revealed that traditional students assessed the group discussion technique as more effective in helping them understand topic material than did the nontraditional students. There were no significant differences between the groups in their assessment of the other three techniques.

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© Regina Waters