University of Nottingham (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 4328-4339
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
Many undergraduate and post-graduate degree courses require use of statistical methods to analyse and interpret data sets. The extent to which statistics are a main topic of study varies greatly with degree subject, yet knowledge, understanding and appropriate use of statistics are either essential or highly desirable across most of the sciences and social sciences. It is frequently observed that students attending post-graduate degree courses, in particular, vary widely in their prior knowledge, confidence and expertise with statistics, hence the requirement for resources that students can access independently to refresh or acquire the skills necessary for their courses. For many students, learning statistics is neither easy nor intuitive nor popular. If a learning tool can be developed that teaches the students the basics of statistical techniques in a stand-alone, easy-to-use and intuitive way, while also clearly demonstrating the direct relevance and applicability of the methods, then the potential benefits are many, including the efficient use of time for staff and students.

‘Statistics – an Intuitive Introduction’ (SII) is an e-learning resource developed at the University of Nottingham and accessible via the internet. The first phase of SII comprises five main learning units: central tendency, variability, graphical display, standard deviation and normal distribution. These units are built around interactive Flash tools and designed for student-centred learning, by guided discovery at the student’s own pace. Feedback from students is generally positive, with comments indicating that the interactive, graphical examples in SII help them to examine fundamental concepts that support their understanding of statistical principles. The second phase of development is now underway and will expand the coverage of concepts and techniques to include standard errors and confidence intervals, hypothesis testing (e.g. t-tests, correlation) and simple parameter estimation (e.g. regression). This paper will demonstrate development of SII to date and review feedback from students and academic tutors regarding its potential impact as a learning resource. Designed with a focus strongly on developing an intuitive understanding of statistics, it is envisaged that SII will be an important, general resource for students in higher education, both within the University of Nottingham and beyond.
Statistics, e-learning, higher education.