E-LEARNING OF ARRIAGA’S METHODOLOGY FOR MEASURING CHANGES IN LIFE EXPECTANCY
In university education, new methodologies must be introduced to facilitate the use of e-learning tools, through information technologies and other educational or skills training systems. In relation to the teaching of statistical demography in the European Higher Education Area, mechanisms that facilitate and motivate student learning are of great importance; this subject is taught in diverse study areas, in some of which students will not always have a solid grounding in mathematics and computer skills. The aim of this paper is to provide a clear explanation of Arriaga’s methodology, which enables us to determine the contribution of each age group to changes in life expectancy, for any population (those produced in a time interval, taking into account differences by gender or between geographic regions). Life expectancy at birth is often used as a summary measure of population mortality and changes in this parameter are also used to summarize variations in this mortality. This fundamentally reciprocal relationship between the two dimensions of the survival function is the basis of methodologies, such as the one presented here, that seek to account for changes in life expectancy depending on variations in mortality rates. A software package has been developed, describing the theory associated with Arriaga’s methodology and containing a spreadsheet which applies this theory, using Visual Basic, and programming mathematical expressions. The application runs with a simple click on an icon, and it can be applied to any table of population mortality.