Griffith University, School of Pharmacy (AUSTRALIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 2700-2708
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
Innovative teaching methods embracive of technology, such as Computer Assisted Learning (CAL), have been adopted by pharmacology educators to facilitate the delivery of complex content to increasingly diverse student cohorts. Students with English as a Second Language (ESL) often display problems comprehending and describing complex drug mechanisms when content is delivered in their second language. The transition from native to English as language of instruction has previously been shown by educational researchers to hinder a students’ ability to express understanding, discuss related scientific concepts and interpret and analyse contextual scientific questions. The aim of this pilot study was to develop an interactive pharmacology CAL narrated in two languages (Arabic and English) in order to gather preliminary evidence on the influence of instructional language in student learning by comparing both student performance and satisfaction.
A flash-based interactive CAL describing the mechanism of diuretic action was developed and narrated into two different languages (Arabic and English). Ethical approval was granted by the Griffith University Human Ethics Committee. The study groups consisted of Griffith University Health Faculty students with Arabic as native language and who had completed a foundation pharmacology course. In this preliminary investigation, thirty six student volunteers were randomly allocated into two groups, English group (n = 18) and Arabic group (n = 18). Online summative assessment, comprised of both factual and conceptual multiple choice questions, was used to evaluate student performance. Student satisfaction was also measured using a 5-point Likert scale. Both student groups received the same questions and were allocated the same time frame to complete the quiz. Time taken to answer each question and the quiz as a whole was also recorded. Data were analysed using SPSS software and statistical comparisons made by t-test for student performance and Chi-square test for student perceptions.
Performance as measured by mean test scores was not significantly different (p=0.79) between the groups (Arabic group, M= 35.64 ± 18.25, n=18; English group, M= 33.79 ±18.4, n = 18). However, the mean time taken (seconds) to complete the quiz for the group receiving the Arabic narration (M= 381.56s ±154.41; n = 18) was significantly faster (p<0.05) than that of the group receiving the English tool (M= 466.33s ±169.8; n = 18).
With respect to student satisfaction with the tool in terms of clarity there were no significant differences observed between the two groups (14 positive comments and 4 negative in each group). Furthermore, the same was trend was observed regarding the usefulness of the tool in making learning and understanding easier (13 positive and five negative comments in Arabic group compared with 16 positive and 2 negative comments in English one).
The results of the present study suggest that material delivered in native languages may improve student’s ability to recall information, despite not significantly influencing student performance. Surprisingly there was no clear preference for either tool. However, further studies with larger student cohorts are required.
CAL, Pharmacology, Language.