Visual ANOVA is an interactive Flash program which demonstrates visually how variability between and within experimental groups contributes to the F ratio in the Analysis of Variance. It is not a numerical calculator; rather it visually and holistically demostrates the relations among important concepts. Visual ANOVA is supported by online instructions and by an extensive online lecture explaining the theory behind the Analysis of Variance. The online lecture is supported by two types of assignments: 1) Online computer-graded homework, and 2) A pdf file that gives students the opportunity to do handwritten homework problems with answer keys.
Type of Material:
After finishing a section of ANOVA, this too is an eye-opener fro students as it distills all the complex mathematics into an interactive visualization. While not appropriate for doing statistical analysis, it provides a further intutive grasp of ANOVA.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
To increase understanding of ANOVA by supplementing with a visual interactive interface, to allow the learner to move back and forth between textual, mathematical, and visual representation of ANOVA. To extend the lerner's understanding of variance and hypothesis testing with an interactive module.
Target Student Population:
College and University students of beginning statistics and a refresher for graduate students in statistical concepts.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Understanding of basic statistics including means, variance, and hypothesis testing.
Evaluation and Observation
Content is clear and accessible. A few moves of the mouse and complex statistical concepts are visually displayed. While the module does not claim to be mathematically accurate, it is very sufficient to convey the concepts of mean, variance, within and between sums of squares and the f ratio.
Students may try to use the program before a reasonable understanding of ANOVA and the assumptions such as homogeneity of variance.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
An amazingly efective tool to make mathematical concepts clear and understandable.
Some initial confusion as to what the "red jelly beans" mean. But quickly resolved with user interaction.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Very easy to use both for teachers and students. A simple demonstration will suffice to provide students with the understanding to carry out several problems and may even be used in quizzes and exams using screen captures.
Some old browsers may not be capable of using flash and some students may be averse to installing the flash plug-in to a new browser. Most modern browsers will have flash installed to mitigate this problem.
Other Issues and Comments:
It would be easy to imagine the "red jellybeans" could be redrawn as distributions with normal shape distributions. The author is to be commended for not doing this as the characterization is truly a model and s a teaching tool should be presented as such. This is a program that one of the peer reviewers had been teaching research methods with and found it to be engaging and enlightening even after 25 years of teaching.