A. Gonzalo Nuño, C.M. Gascueña

Polytechnic University of Madrid (SPAIN)
Currently, student dropout rates are a matter of concern among universities. Many research studies, aimed at discovering the causes, have been carried out. However, few solutions, that could serve all students and related problems, have been proposed so far. One such problem is caused by the lack of the "knowledge chain educational links" that occurs when students move onto higher studies without mastering their basic studies. Most regulated studies imparted at universities are designed so that some basic subjects serve as support for other, more complicated, subjects, thus forming a complicated knowledge network. When a link in this chain fails, student frustration occurs as it prevents him from fully understanding the following educational links. In this proposal we try to mitigate these disasters that stem, for the most part, the student’s frustration beyond his college stay. On one hand, we make a dissertation on the student’s learning process, which we divide into a series of phases that amount to what we call the "learning lifecycle." Also, we analyze at what stage the action by the stakeholders involved in this scenario: teachers and students; is most important. On the other hand, we consider that Information and Communication Technologies ICT, such as Cloud Computing, can help develop new ways, allowing for the teaching of higher education, easing and facilitating the student’s learning process. But, methods and processes need to be defined as to direct the use of such technologies; in the teaching process in general, and within higher education in particular; in order to achieve optimum results. Our methodology integrates, as another actor, the ICT into the "Learning Lifecycle". We stimulate students to stop being merely spectators of their own education, and encourage them to take an active part in their training process. To do this, we offer a set of useful tools to determine not only academic failure causes, (for self assessment), but also to remedy these failures (with corrective actions); "discovered the causes is easier to determine solutions”. We believe this work will be useful for both students and teachers. Students learn from their own experience and improve their learning process, while obtaining all of the "knowledge chain educational links” required in their studies. We stand by the motto "Studying to learn instead of studying to pass." Teachers will also be benefited by detecting where and how to strengthen their teaching proposals. All of this will also result in decreasing dropout rates.