SUBJECT MATTER LEARNING MODELS: IMPACT OF LEARNING SEQUENCE IN TECHNICAL COURSES ON STUDENT LEARNING
Teaching methods of post-secondary, masters level accounting and finance classes to non-business majors, have created controversy in the past five years. Some academicians support competency-based learning while others have engaged in flipped classes. Many professors still follow a model that includes assignment of reading material followed by assessments of learning outcomes. This model works for many conceptual subjects; however, when it comes to learning math based courses, or conceptual courses that are highly specialized, this pedagogical model may not produce the best, most efficient, instructional design for student learning. For example, when a professor teaches a graduate level leadership class, reading, discussion then assessment may be a logical and popular pedagogical method. Yet when a professor teaches graduate level accounting, it is possible that reading assignments may not be the logical first step in the learning sequence. Anecdotal evidence has suggested that the sequence matters in learning highly technical subjects, like accounting. Reading assignments about specialized topics, when a student has no background in the subject, may actually get in the way of learning and cause more stress than necessary. The following is a review of literature and research on the topic of learning sequence and discussion of the authors’ own experiences in both math and conceptual content learning flow and how they differ.