University of Granada (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 3520-3528
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
An innovative vision on the practices of a general marketing subject during the academic year of 2010/11 was designed using the virtual media. To this purpose, the Simbrand simulation software by Cesim was used. This simulation software offers to the students the opportunity to work in teams as being an enterprise, to apply the theoretical concepts of the general marketing
The main objective of this activity was to analyze the usability perceived by the students in terms of learning the theoretical concepts of the study subject and of acquiring individual and social abilities, and to identify if there are significant differences between the usability perception reported by the male students and that reported by the female students as well as to identify if the perception of the learners on the simulator usability is the same with the perception of the student using such learning tool.
To this purpose, a questionnaire was applied to 784 students. The questionnaire contained 48 items, about opinion related to different perceptions on their participation to the simulation. In addition, we used the final qualifications reported by the study subject learners, for the decisions adopted during the simulation.

The outcomes prove that the students perceived the software as a tool easy to use, being satisfied with its use. However, significant differences between the male student perceptions and the female student perceptions have been found. Meanwhile it was found that all the students declared they are more satisfied by such simulations than by applying, individually or in group, the theoretical concepts to certain case studies. By using the Student’s t-distribution applied to the statistical data it was found that men feel a major satisfaction in using the simulation (p=0.003), their perception on simulator-assisted learning being much better than the perception reported by the women (p=0.015). These outcomes are in contradiction with the evaluations reported by the learners. The qualifications obtained by the men were significantly lower than those obtained by women (p=0.028).

Anyway, despite this difference between men and women, the outcomes are comprehensible with those of some previous surveys in terms of what is considered useful by the students for getting social and individual abilities and for acquiring team-working ability. However, an analysis of the correlations proved that the students evaluated their satisfaction level related to the use of the tool mainly based on the knowledge acquired in this manner, being found bi-varied, positive and significant correlations, higher than 0.5, between positions evaluating learning and positions evaluating the satisfaction level. Undoubtedly the students, despite their very positive evaluation of the satisfaction given by the use of the simulator, did not took into consideration in such evaluation the abilities acquired due to the use of the simulator.

This analysis leads to 2 conclusions: use of NTIC in marketing subjects can consolidate the student learning, improving his/her involvement in class, increasing his/her positive reaction to learning and building the informal learning. It is necessary to compare the data collected from students with other data, before to evaluate them, due to the over-evaluation reported by men for such tools, men being more involved in their use, supporting a major learning capacity and, consequently, a major satisfaction compared to that reported by women
Usability perceived, social abilities, individual abilities, learning, virtual media, simulation, ITC.