About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 725-731
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1161

Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain


A. Fernández-Morales

Universidad de Málaga (SPAIN)
Survival models play a key role in Actuarial Science, especially in the life contingencies field. The complexities of some of these models, especially when applied to human lifetimes, makes them a particularly difficult topic for students to learn as well as for educators to teach. Since the nineties, there is a growing research area of developing new resources and methods to improve Statistics learning performance, in an attempt to take advantage of the possibilities that new technologies provide in this regard. Many of these efforts are based on using computer based simulations to facilitate the understanding and to allow experimentation in real time. Significantly, most of the literature states positive effects over performance and understanding when using computer simulation based resources in Statistics learning.

Following this approach, and integrated into a Pedagogical Innovation Project at the University of Málaga, an interactive online simulator of lifetimes based on actuarial survival models has been developed to enhance the learning experience of the students at the MSc in Actuarial Science. A blended strategy is followed in the course of Survival Models, combining in-classroom activities with online resources, to facilitate the integration of diverse learning styles. Previous experiences in this Project indicated that the best valued resources by our students were the online and interactive ones, and they demanded more tools of this type, being the main reason for developing the new simulator.

Using the new capabilities of modern web browsers and JavaScript frameworks, a graphical interactive simulator has been developed which eases the study and analysis of actuarial survival models. JavaScript open source libraries are the new technological paradigm in this area that is progressively substituting the previous one based on Java applets, as several studies confirm. In the simulator, a visual animation shows the generated lifetimes and several graphic windows present the main features of the model, like expectation of life at several ages, the curve of deaths, the modal age at death and conditional annual mortality rates. The parameters of the model are user modifiable, generating real time modifications of all the graphical windows. This interactive graphical tool is integrated into a series of guided activities that allow students to experiment with confidence within a contextualized environment, fully adapted to the professional competences demanded by the actuarial profession.

The analysis of the results of a dedicated survey reveals that students that used this simulator considered that it significantly facilitated their comprehension of the most complex features of actuarial survival models. Within the characteristics of the simulator investigated in the survey, regarding their effects on understanding and learning, the best valued ones by the students were the possibility of experimenting and the interactivity. Furthermore, another relevant finding was the students’ perception of a less boring learning experience when using the simulator.
author = {Fern{\'{a}}ndez-Morales, A.},
series = {9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN17 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-3777-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2017.1161},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2017.1161},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {3-5 July, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {725-731}}
AU - A. Fernández-Morales
SN - 978-84-697-3777-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1161
PY - 2017
Y1 - 3-5 July, 2017
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN17 Proceedings
SP - 725
EP - 731
ER -
A. Fernández-Morales (2017) SIMULATING LIFETIMES WITH ACTUARIAL SURVIVAL MODELS, EDULEARN17 Proceedings, pp. 725-731.