Comparison of Two Online Courseware Instructional Methods Using Propensity Score Matching


  • Renée Babcock Central Michigan University
  • Jean Georgiou New Jersey City University



Propensity Score Matching, digital learning systems, adaptive courseware, interactive courseware


This study used propensity score matching to compare two online courseware systems intended for use as supplements to either face-to-face or online courses. One courseware system focused on adaptive features available to students while completing assignments; whereas the other system was an interactive courseware that provided embedded media supplements and assessments. Participants were students enrolled in a psychology course taught by an instructor who used the adaptive courseware in Fall 2013, switching to the interactive courseware in Fall 2015 and 2016. Propensity score matching was used to match students in 2015 with students in 2013. A separate matching process was done for the 2016 versus 2013 students. The use of propensity score matching was successful in allowing comparison across groups. However, the only consistent finding across the two matched samples was that students appeared to spend less time in the interactive courseware than the adaptive courseware. The most likely reason for the difference is a function of the requirements of the two courseware systems.