Efficacy Spotlight: Why Are San Diego Zoo Global Academy Courses Effective?
At the AZA Conference in September, we announced the preliminary results of our efficacy testing. For that study, an evaluation was conducted to assess the efficacy of the Academy training. The study involved the first four animal care courses. Professionals from four organizations across the United States served as the study participants. A total of 155 individuals completed one or more of the Academy courses. Tests aligned with each course’s designated outcomes were administered just prior to and immediately following training. A follow-up assessment was also administered to a smaller group to gauge knowledge retention.
What the results told us is that knowledge gains were significant and retention of that information was also very strong. Gains in knowledge were recorded for each of the four tested courses. Average gains ranged from a low of 7 percentage points to a high of almost 23 percentage points. In all cases, the difference between pre- and post-test means was statistically significant—indicating little to no probability that the observed mean differences were the result of random chance. While pretest scores varied by course, recorded post-test score means all clustered in the mid-90% range—between 93.8% and 96.8%. This indicates a high degree of mastery, regardless of the individual’s performance level when the course began.
Retention of learned skills and knowledge over time is an equally important factor for determining the efficacy of the Academy courses. Two of the pilot testing organizations agreed to conduct a follow-up assessment. Participants completed a follow-up test for the Zoonosis course 90 days after posttest administration. Results indicate that, following an initial gain of 15.7 percentage points and achieving a posttest mean of 96.5%, students maintained 10.2 of the original percentage 15.7-point gain. This equates to 67% retention of the gained knowledge, relative to post-test performance.
We have been asked why the results of this eLearning program are so significant. A new study published in The Journal of Applied Instructional Design (www.jaidpub.org ∙ October 2013 ∙ ISSN: 2160-5289) outlines the reason why the instructional design approach used in the Animal Care Courses is so effective in producing results. Instructional Designers at CypherWorx, San Diego Zoo Global Academy’s eLearning partner, focused on the following design aspects to bring world-class content to life when building the courses:
- Using case studies to attain and maintain the learner’s attention and make learning relevant
- Using rich visuals to convey content
- Building confidence through illustration of facts and concepts Maintaining attention with variability
- Building confidence and ensuring satisfaction with feedback
- Learning guidance through examples and non-examples, advance organizers and mnemonics.
- Using elaboration theory and advance organizers to motivate
- Establishing relevance with examples and non-examples.
To read the complete published paper and learn more about the design approach utilized to produce these significant results, click here:
Read the full study results here.
Would you like to hear more about San Diego Zoo Global Academy in general?
Please contact Linda Duca at (516) 815-2886, or LDuca@Cypherworx.com