University of Málaga (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 6654-6661
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
The academic reinforcement methodology described in this paper is the result of a research activity carried out by a group of lecturers from the University of Málaga with teaching in different engineering degrees (e.g., computer science, industrial, telecommunication, etc.). The research stems from the concern of the authors to solve a common problem detected in their daily work: the first courses’ students usually have problems to understand certain key concepts, which are fundamental for their education as engineers. This proposal is based on the early identification of these “difficult” concepts and the creation of explanatory multimedia content available on-line for students. In this way, students can use these resources to consolidate the concepts previously presented in class.

Most subjects in an engineering degree contain fundamental concepts that the students must acquire for a proper development and progressive learning, and whose understanding may be difficult. On the one hand, students do not have enough time to mature the fundamental concepts; on the other hand, despite the efforts of the lecturer, students have difficulties to identify those concepts and how they are related to each other. This situation leads to a decline in students’ attendance in classrooms and a reduction of the number of students presented in the final evaluation.

The performance of didactic supporting material as a complement of the study hours out of the class (e-learning, b-learning) is essential for the suitable development of the student learning process in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) [2]. We believe that conducting a series of multimedia materials dedicated to the explanation of fundamental concepts can benefit in a qualitative and quantitative way the learning process of students [3], by reinforcing the conceptual foundations related to a specific subject in the new educational system.

However, and despite the intrinsic attractive and potential benefits of such reinforcement resources, it is difficult to check that they meet their purpose (i.e., to improve the academic performance of the students). So, with the aim of assessing the academic improvement due to the usage of the designed material, we have developed a methodology that iteratively improves the content according to the educational needs of students. Our proposal mainly consists of the following stages: first, critical concepts of interest for a proper learning are identified; second, the identified concepts are then explained throughout multimedia resources such as flash contents, Wink animations, etc.; third, the teaching results are evaluated at the end of each lecture by means of ad-hoc evaluation tools applied on control groups; and fourth, the evaluation results are analyzed in order to obtain usage statistics and remarks that allow us to redesign the contents and so, addressing the learning-teaching process properly.

[1] Rovai, A., Ponton, M., Wighting, M., Baker, J. (2007). A Comparative Analysis of Student Motivation in Traditional Classroom and E-Learning Courses. International Journal on E-Learning, 6(3), pp. 413-432.

[2] Minguillón, J., Sicilia, M., Lamb, B. (2011). From Content Management to E-Learning Content Repositories. Content Management for E-Learning, Part 1, pp. 27-41.

[3] Fernandez, V., Simo, P., Sallan, J.M. (2009). Podcasting: A New Technological Tool to Facilitate Good Practice in Higher Education, Computers & Education, 53(2), pp. 385-392.
Academic Reinforcement Methodology, Multimedia Resources, Virtual Learning Environments, e-learning.