1 Griffith University, School of Pharmacy (AUSTRALIA)
2 Bond University, School of Health Science (AUSTRALIA)
3 Griffith University, School of Medical Science (AUSTRALIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Page: 6411 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Background: Students growing with advances in new technologies have novel learning styles that are non-linear, personalised to individual needs and fluent in 'simulation-based virtual settings'. These students need more than the traditional teaching approaches to engage them in the learning process. Technology is thought to provide many advantages to student learning. Such as allowing them to direct their own learning and providing flexible learning opportunities. The implementation of online learning tools (e-tools) is increasingly advocated as they have the capacity to allow students to learn when, where, what, and how (learning style, collaborative or independent learning) they want. However, despite several decades of research and development in and around the use of computers in education, recent studies show that e-tools implementation has not been as extensive as expected.
Purpose: The purposes of this study was to evaluate the educational benefit of e-tools, designed and produced by the pharmacology education department at Griffith University, on student performance in a major assessment item for pharmacology curricula. This study also aimed to compare student performance before and after e-tool supplementation between two higher education institutions.
Methods: A retrospective qualitative and quantitative study was conducted to evaluate the impact of adding e-tools as supplements to the pharmacology curricula in 2012 in two Australian universities; Griffith University and Bond University both located at the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Student demographic data and attitudes towards the e-tools were assessed using a survey, student uptake of the e-tools was evaluated by analysing data from the courses website (Blackboard). Finally, student performance in a major assessment item was analysed before e-tools were implemented (2011) and after deployment of the e-tools (2012), to evaluate the improvement in learning at each university.
Results: The survey data indicated that participants from Griffith and Bond universities were not significantly different on key demographic variables, and that overall, students preferred the addition of e-tools to supplement their standard curriculum. The uptake of the e-tools was significantly higher at Bond compared to Griffith University (t= 138.2, p < 0.05). However, students from Griffith performed significantly better in the 2012 exam when compared to 2011 (t = -3.3, p < 0.05), while no significant difference in performance was observed at Bond University across the two academic years (t = -0.75, p > 0.05).
Conclusions: Students were found to have a positive attitude towards the implementation of e-tools as supplements to the standard curriculum. However, an improvement was only observed at Griffith where the e-tools were initially designed. This suggests that the same set of e-tools might not improve student learning if not aligned with the course aims and objectives. Therefore, e-tools should be aligned with the specific course aims and objectives to effectively improve student learning.
E-tools, Pharmacology education, constructive alignment.