A LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF THE ACHIEVEMENT OF BUSINESS COMMUNICATION LEARNING OUTCOMES AT A MIDDLE EASTERN UNIVERSITY
Our paper describes the final phase of a longitudinal study designed to assess the learning of business communication among business undergraduates at a Middle Eastern university which received AACSB accreditation in 2013. We first established the desired learning outcomes within the parameters set by our university and college. We then identified their relevant constituent knowledge areas. These areas include cultural literacy, language/genre, audience analysis, social capital, and persuasion, which we incorporated in the acronym CLASP. We then devised a three-way assessment to test students’ understanding of these: knowledge (Multiple Choice Questions), comprehension (mini cases) and application (mini cases). We administered different versions of this evaluation instrument to a cohort of 83 students at the start of their first business communication course and again at the completion of their third and final course eighteen months later. We present an overview and comparison of the results of each administration of our assessment and highlight the shortcomings our instrument allowed us to identify in our students’ achievement of the relevant learning outcomes. We then describe our plans to rectify these areas of poor achievement in rolling out our courses in the future. Comparison of pre- and post-test results indicated the area of lowest achievement was in the application of knowledge and, to redress this, we are incorporating in-depth application practice within each teaching module. This provides students with practice in transferring the theory they learn to scenarios replicating real business world situations. We do this within a project based learning approach as this is the approach we adopt in our course. We have arranged the online administration of the MCQs testing knowledge to facilitate the ongoing administration of our learning evaluation instrument which will help us monitor our teaching effectiveness.