Effects of aural and visual instructions on task performance

This study was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of aural presentation of instructions upon comprehension, as measured by performance in a complex task, particularly among individuals demonstrating low reading comprehension. Subjects performed a task having concrete and abstract parts after receiving instructions in one of three experimental modes; i.e., Condition 1, 100% visual presentation; Condition 2, 50% visual/50% aural presentation or Condition 3, 100% aural presentation. To effectively assess the instructional modes, a task was chosen with which subjects would have little familiarity, namely the assembly and use of a binary adder (BA). Persons with binary number system background were not used. In Part 1, the concrete portion of the task, subjects assembled wiring necessary for the correct use of a 2-position BA. In Part 2, subjects were required to troubleshoot an error in a 4-position BA, then use the adder to add a 4-position binary problem and convert the answer to a decimal number. Subject population was composed of 90 male and female students at California State University, Northridge. Pretests were conducted to assess the subject's reading comprehension level and manual dexterity ability. Manual dexterity was not to be considered as a separate variable therefore, subjects scoring above 80 and below 20 were eliminated from further participation. (See more in text.)