University of Chile (CHILE)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN16 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 2761-2768
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.1597
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
During the last two decades, student engagement has been a concern for many researchers in the field of higher education. According to the literature, students who are engaged in learning activities outperform peers who are disengaged on a broad range of learning outcomes (Wolters, 2004; Appleton et al., 2008, Prince, 2014). At the same time, the literature suggests that active learning enhances student engagement (Prince, 2014). In business education, active learning typically includes activities such as problem based learning, internships, essays, project based learning, case study analysis, among others (Rippin et al., 2002; Karns, 2005). Along with learning activities, different learning tools are widely used in business education. The potential impact of the use of these tools in student engagement have not been fully studied yet.

The aim of this research is to assess the effects of introducing “the strategy map”, a specific learning tool, on the students’ engagement at a public business school. Our motivation arises from two lines of literature. First, we propose the use of strategy maps because they can be understood as a form of concept map, i.e. allows to establish causal relationships. Concept maps have been described by Novack (2010) as facilitators of learning in both schools and organizations. Second, the use of strategy maps as a management tool is in line with the evolution of the use of learning strategies into modern organizations (Baldwin et al., 1997; Kaplan and Norton, 2004).

To assess the driving hypothesis that the use of strategy maps impact students’ engagement, a between subject experimental design was conducted. The experiment included two different groups of students: one undergraduate class and one graduate class that were enrolled at the Business School at the University of Chile, and were studying an introductory management course at the time.

Each class was randomly assigned to either a control or an experimental group, therefore there were two control and two experimental groups, consisting of undergraduate and graduate students. After the teacher covered the main contents of the class, students from all groups were asked to identify and establish relationships between key resources, processes and objectives of a company. For the task, only students in the experimental groups were asked to use strategy maps.

After the students submitted their assignment, they responded a post-experimental questionnaire intended to the dependent variable of this study. Specifically, we used an adapted version of Rich’s (2010) engagement survey, which includes questions measuring physical, emotional and cognitive engagement. T-tests were employed to validate the significant difference on student’s engagement between the control and the experimental groups of undergraduate and graduate students.

The results showed a statistical difference for the groups of undergraduate and graduate students in all dimensions of engagement; graduate students in either the control or the experimental groups were more engaged. When analyzing undergraduate class only, we found no difference among the control and experimental groups for any dimension of engagement. In the case of graduate students, one dimension was statistically significant; the emotional engagement. Thus, graduate students showed higher emotional engagement when strategy maps were used in class.
Strategy map, student engagement, active learning, learning tools.