TO WHAT EXTENT ICT RESOURCES INFLUENCE THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE? AN INQUIRY USING U-MULTIRANK DATA
Bucharest University of Economic Studies (ROMANIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:Recent trends in higher education, among which digitalization, lifelong learning and the COVID-19 pandemic have called for an increase in ICT content. This content impacts most academic specializations, and is seen as a premise for delivering a high-quality education which meets the requirements of today’s and tomorrow’s labour markets. Therefore, ICT educational resources are central in providing state-of-the-art content which meets the needs and requirements of modern professions, where digital literacy is essential in ensuring professional success. Moreover, digital teaching is seen as an enabling component of teaching, as new tools and methods can increase student-teacher interaction, provide more learning resources, and ensure an objective assessment of student performance.
The impact of two ICT components, digital teaching and IT provision, on learning experience, is examined by using indicators expressed as ratings, obtained from student satisfaction surveys during the 2018-2020 period. These surveys are carried out within the U-Multirank project.
The research approach consists of identifying which educational indicators are associated with the ICT components. Following correlation analysis, regression analysis is used to confirm the influence of several indicators on overall learning experience scores. Then, factor analysis is used to showcase the relationships between these indicators and provide an overall picture of how they influence each other. Confirmation on how individual components define overall learning experience, IT provision, and digital teaching is carried out using decision trees, and assessed using variable importance scores. These methods are particularly suited to the U-Multirank data, where data is missing for many individual indicators on a pairwise basis.
Results confirm the fact that there is an ensemble of factors that determine overall learning experience, as revealed by medium and high correlations and statistically significant regression results. The three-factor structure obtained reveals how overall learning satisfaction is primarily influenced by the quality of teaching, research orientation of teaching and contact with teachers, and, to a lesser extent program organization and digital teaching. In this structure, provision of IT resources plays a central role in ensuring student satisfaction, along with laboratory and library facilities, opportunities to study abroad, and digital teaching.
Decision tree modelling also reveals the influence of other indicators than those described above. Inclusion of work and practical experience affects IT provision ratings, and has significant correlations with other indicators, for some subjects (e.g., industrial engineering, education, biology).
Results obtained can be used as inputs for academic policies at institutional level, so as to properly oversee and manage different factors that may influence the learning experience. The rather dual nature of satisfaction measures, with a first dimension being defined by the quality of teaching, and the second by the quality of resources and facilities available, should serve as a guide for proper resource allocation, given personnel and/or funding constraints which may arise at a certain point in time.
Keywords: Digital teaching, IT facilities, overall learning experience, U-Multirank, student surveys.