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M. Espinosa, B. Arosa, I. Barrainkua

University of the Basque Country (SPAIN)
The convergence towards European Higher Education Area (EHEA) involves the implementation of new active methodologies for the teaching-learning process that stimulate active student learning. These methodologies should consequently ensure the quality of the processes and results. The aim of this change is to train students not only in the most technical aspects of the discipline but also in other competencies and skills required by the professional market. The students must achieve the knowledge, attitudes and skills for adequate job performance. Many studies advocate for the implantation of new teaching active methodologies, and in particular the PBL (Project Based Learning), in order to reach the development of the abilities and skills that new EHEA pursues.
The objective of our study is, on one hand, to present a design for improving the learning process in Financial Accounting using Project Based Learning and, on the other hand to provide new data about the goodness of this methodology for developing the required competences and skills in Accounting.
The design has focused on the following objectives: student motivation, active involvement in their own learning, studentĀ“s autonomy strengthening, cooperative activities, teamwork and continuous evaluation involving a constant feedback of the teaching-learning process. This proposed model combines over the course a team project, minimum content exams, some activities to deliver in class hours with a change in the assessment process. Thus, the assessment process becomes a part of the feedback that needs to be produced in the teaching-learning process. According to this, the assessment system designed seeks to achieve these objectives.
Specifically, the assessment in this model is divided as follows: 40% of the final mark is given for the team project, 40% for the minimum content exams and 20% for the activities to deliver in class. With this design the feedback does not occur only by the teacher, who along the course will detect errors of understanding and learning in time for renewal. This system allows confrontation and feedback from peers, mainly from those who are in the team project.
In order to analyze the goodness of this model design applying PBL of the learning process in financial accounting we have conducted a study among our first course students. The results of the study show that the implementation of the PBL methodology, and specifically, the above design gets not only much better results than the traditional methodology but also greater satisfaction by the students with the design, implementation and assessment process. Also, the study shows how the team project and the use of seminars for its monitoring are a major source of feedback that stimulates the learning process. In particular, students affirm that the explanations they offer to their peers and those receiving by them, as well as the corrections that the teacher made of the project, significantly improve the learning process.