Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communications Media

First Advisor

James Lenze, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Nurhaya Muchtar, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Anna Ortiz, Ph.D.


Through prior research the need for tools to evaluate teaching and learning efficiencies have had little progress in defining, measuring or recording the processes when utilizing technology-mediated devices (Hoffman and Schraw, 2010). Through applications of mental effort and performance, researchers such as Paas (1992 & 1993), and Chen, Chang and Yen (2012) have contributed to the measurement processes of learning efficiency. This study was designed to test the theory that technology-mediated evaluation tools have a positive effect on performance and mental effort providing more efficient learning, as measured by the Efficiency formula (Chen, Chang & Yen 2012) and Mental Effort Scales (Paas, 1992 & 1993). It is the efficiency of the learning process that this study evaluates through students’ cognitive load during course quizzes, both technology-mediated and paper/pencil options. A posttest-only control group design, using undergraduate students enrolled in the Communications Media in American Society: COMM 101 course at a medium size state university, focusing primarily on the differences between students who use technology-mediated evaluation tools and those that use paper and pencil methods. Furthermore, this dissertation examines the cognitive load and performance during completion of the course quiz to explore whether or not technology requires more or less mental effort to complete. Statistical analysis of the 110 participants suggests that a significant difference exists between students that use technology-mediated evaluation tools and those that use traditional paper and pencil methods when examining quiz scores, mental effort and learning efficiency. However, the significant differences were not in favor of the technology-mediated evaluation tools but the traditional methods of paper and pencil. The recommendation is that based on the results of this study, technology-mediated evaluation tools should be used on a limited basis or students should be given the option of paper and pencil or technology-mediated evaluation tools when completing course evaluations.