A Technology-Enhanced Intervention for Statistics and Critical Thinking in Higher Education Using Precision Teaching and Peer-Assisted Learning


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Statistics literacy and critical thinking have become increasingly important for Higher Education (HE) and employability in the 21st century; however, teaching these topics or skills remains a major challenge. This PhD attempted to address this challenge through technology-enhanced video-based learning (VBL). Three iterations of ‘bite-sized’ VBL interventions focusing on statistics literacy or critical thinking were implemented. The bite-sized VBL approach was enhanced with progressive peer-assisted learning (PAL), a pedagogical approach where students learn from senior students who have recently completed the same course. The interventions also included Precision Teaching (PT), a behaviourally-grounded teaching approach that builds 'fluency' on learnt skills and benefits students learning in VBL settings.

In the first iteration of the intervention (Study 1), an online VBL intervention for consolidating previously learned statistical skills was developed. The use of PAL varied across three 'presenter conditions': lecturer-led, peer-imitating-lecturer, or peer-led. Participants presented a high performance in post-episode assessments, irrespective of presenter conditions and reported remarkably positive views towards bite-sized VBL.

The second iteration (Study 2) evaluated an integrated VBL and PT intervention for a broad range of statistics topics. A PT intervention group achieved consistently higher scores in all end-of-episode assessments than a self-directed learning control group. Both groups showed significant and comparable improvements in statistics attainment and reported more positive feelings towards statistics post-intervention.

The final iteration (Study 3) extended the integrated VBL and PT approach to critical thinking skills, focusing on fallacy identification. Three groups of participants, a 'PT' group, a 'PT+' group, where PT was combined with problem-based training, and a 'self-directed learning' control group, completed two learning episodes. All groups showed significant and comparable improvements in fallacy identification on taught and unseen materials, while lower-scoring participants had higher gains than high-scoring participants. The results on delayed recall a week later were also comparable between groups. Crucially, the two PT groups showed bigger improvements than the control group in the domain-general fallacy-identification assessment post-intervention.

The original contributions of this project to knowledge are threefold. First, PT is flexible enough to support learning quantitative and more complex skills in VBL. Second, video-based PAL strategies share similar benefits to lecturer-led learning whilst being more congruent with the learners' level of competence. Third, bite-sized VBL has a great potential to support university students in learning as a supplementary teaching aid.
Date of Award15 Jun 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorTHEMELIS KARAMINIS (Director of Studies) & RODERICK NICOLSON (Supervisor)


  • statistical literacy
  • critical thinking
  • precision teaching
  • peer-assisted learning
  • video-based learning
  • computer-assisted learning
  • higher education

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