UTP University of Science and Technology (POLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN18 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 5181-5189
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1263
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
The principle of gradation of difficulty is one of the basic and commonly accepted principles in education. It is applied at each stage of education: from kindergarten, through primary and secondary schools, schools of higher education as well as in various courses and trainings for adults. The principle assumes that teaching should go from easier to more difficult, from simpler to more difficult, from simple to complex, from what is closer to students to what is further, from what is known better to what is known less. Each new piece of information should come with extending the contents known earlier and each new skill should be an extension of the skills acquired earlier.

The gradation of difficulty facilitates a gradual solving of more and more difficult problems. Staring problem solving from a relatively simple task does not discourage the student as he or she can manage such a task. Besides, adding successive assumptions which gradually complicate the task bringing it closer to the conditions which occur in practice helps to make the students realize what problems they can face in their future job. This is especially significant in managers and management accountants education. The principle of gradation of difficulty has been applied in the “Management accounting” course, considered one of the most important courses in the education of M.Sc. students majoring in management at the Faculty of Management, the UTP University of Science and Technology in Bydgoszcz, Poland. The course covers 30 hours of lectures and 30 hours of computer laboratory classes with the use of Excel.

The main aim of the article is to present the principle of gradation of difficulty as a teaching method in the management accountancy education. It is shown with the example of a Solver tool applied to the profit optimization problem solving in a manufacturing company.
The first part of the article provides a short literature review on teaching methods in managers and accountants education and stresses the importance of the application of MS Excel, especially the Solver tool. Then some examples of tasks solved applying the gradation of difficulty and MS Excel in the course “management accounting” are given. The main part demonstrates how to use the method involving the Solver tool in solving the problem of profit optimisation in the manufacturing company. Successive versions of the same task are provided. Each successive task is an extended version of the previous task, with one or more assumptions added, referring to conditions found in practice. The article ends with some conclusions.

According to the author, the solver tool application demonstrated in the article is a good example of how the difficulty gradation concept can be used in the management accountancy education and it shows how it can enhance understanding the managerial accounting method.
Gradation of difficulty, management accounting, teaching, spreadsheet.