University of Granada (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 3502-3511
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
The new educational model appearing in the European Higher Education Area tries to change the more traditional pedagogical system substantially based on the concept of classifying the performance on a precise grade scale and learning by memorizing, with a more dynamic system enabling the students to create their own knowledge, the student becoming in this way the main actor of the “learning” process (Arteaga & Duarte, 2010; Stone et al., 2001).

Within this context, this paper tries to analyze which are the determining factors able to generate the learning process to the student and which is the role to be developed by the learners before using MARKOPS Online simulator. This simulator was used during 3 academic courses-periods (2006-2009), in marketing subjects with different titles, taught at the Faculty of Economic in Granada. To this purpose, seven hypotheses have been implemented by taking into consideration the reference literature and they have been analyzed by using a structural equation model.

With regard to the work on site and the measuring tool, a questionnaire was applied to 784 students. The relevant questionnaire contained 48 ítems measured on a ten grade Likert scale (1=total disagreement, 10=fully agree with). By this questionnaire, the students were asked to express their opinion related to different perceptions on their participation to the simulation in relation to the learning process, the development of special abilities; the activity of their learners; the material provided; etc.

To analyze the data collected, SPSS 18 and LISREL 8.71 software applications have been used. More precisely, an exploratory factor analysis was applied to identify the five grade scales (for learning, for the material basis, for the use facilitation, for the social and learning abilities acquired) and a structural equation model has been developed by the Robust Maximum Likelihood method. The adjustment of the measuring model is made according to reflexive indicators, too.
The adjustment indexes for the model obtained were opportune (Hu y Bentler, 1995) and all the hypotheses proposed have been empirically supported. The model explains about 56% of the variability of the learning process achieved by the student in relation to the individual and social abilities acquired, to the facilitation of the use of the basic material, and indirectly, to the activity of the learners.

This paper confirms that the use of NICT causes changes in the manner of designing the learning-education processes (Ferro et al., 2009). The virtual media facilitate the implementation of a more constructivist vision on learning (Arteaga & Duarte, 2010), where the role of learners is to facilitate for the student the capacity of involving in the process and independently learning, the student becoming a creative agent for the learning environments (MEC, 2005). Such activity of the learner positively and significantly relates to the development of the analytic and reflexive abilities and to boosting the issue settlement abilities of the student, all these being deemed vital on the current labor market (Nielsen et al., 2005).

Briefly, our discovering suggests that the use of the new learning technologies together with the agent activity of the learners confirms a very successful trend for reaching the objectives set out in the European Higher Education Area.
Information and Communications Technology, Business Simulators, Structural Equation Model, Abilities, Learning.