ENHANCING THE LEARNING PROCESS IN MASS-LECTURES WITH SIMULATIVE VISUALIZATIONS
WU Vienna (AUSTRIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Traditionally, at the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU), the total number of beginning students is approximately 5,000 per year. As a consequence, lectures held during the first year of the bachelor program are characterized by a high amount of students per lecture, an e-learning based learning environment and highly standardized multiple choice final exams.
In the “Introductory Finance” lecture this framework has negative effects on the comprehensive understanding of central interrelationship among “influencing factors”. The learning behavior of students seems to veers toward reproduction of “sample calculation processes” given in the calculation examples stated at the e-learning platform or in the relevant literature.
Therefore simulative visualizations can be used to show relationships in relevant concepts. This tool should have a positive effect on the learning behavior. In addition to learning by strict calculation processes, deeper (explicit and implicit) understanding of the relationships of the concepts could be improved.
For incentive reasons simulative visualizations are part of dynamic home exercises, where students can receive additional points for their final score (5 extra points – 120 points final exam). The term “dynamic” refers to the circumstance that each student gets own randomized numbers and a randomized set of answers which can be defined via different text modules.
The effects of a better conceptual understanding according to the simulative visualizations are measured by significant differences of the group “actively participating in the relevant assignment” (home exercise score > 0,5) against the group “not actively participating in the relevant example” (home exercise score < 0,5 or not participating at all) at the final exam. The statistical method used in this project is a one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). The sample size of the analysis depends on the amount of students, which range between 500 and 1000. At least one third of the students participate in the dynamic home exercises.
Preliminary outcomes show a significant difference between the stated groups (p<0,01), if home work examples have the same complexity level as the example in the final test.
The main aim of the project is to show how simulative visualizations effect final-exam questions which test the understanding of interrelation between main factors and therefore could be used as a measure for conceptual understanding of concepts.
Keywords: visualizations, e-learning, learning behaviour, blended learning.