About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 1621-1627
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
This study was conducted among students of the Accounting and Administration undergraduate degree at ISCAP-IPP (School of Accounting and Administration of Polytechnic Institute of Porto). The main goal of the study was realize how much this course is valued by students. This course is lectured in a business environment using the ‘learning by doing’ approach. Business Simulation (BS) was introduced in ISCAP-IPP in 2003 and is divided into ‘BS I’ and ‘BS II’. The learning format is very oriented to decision-making and to promote the solidification of knowledge acquired throughout the other courses. Students are divided into groups of three people, forming a company. After the creation of groups / companies, the students started to make all the activities of a company in a market. There are commercial transactions between these companies and other entities from the national and international market. During classes, students have to perform a set of tasks, previously organized and planned by teachers. Apart from performing the tasks in each session students have to perform management reports and presentations. All tasks are evaluated and feedback is given to the students.

The evaluation is one of the most important aspects of any course, and this also happens in this case, but with the particularity of heterogeneity. We have two major components of assessment: the group component and the individual component. The group component includes tasks performed on classes and the reports. The individual component includes oral presentations, attendance and behaviour.

A survey was conducted to measure the students' perception on certain features of this type of classes, different from traditional ones. Traditional classes are usually very theoretical and generic, which limited the acquisition of skills valued in the accounting and management area. According to AICPA - American Institute of Certified Accountants, there are very important skills needed for an accounting professional, such as decision making, identification of alternatives, the choice and implementation of solutions for value creation.

This study applied a questionnaire for students from BS I and BS II in the academic year 2013/2014. The results from this study were in line with previous studies, over the past few years, in which this questionnaire was also applied. The results showed that students highly value this form of learning, allowing them to improve their knowledge acquired previously. The results of our study were also very similar to those given by Adler and Milne's [1], which give us the idea that students agree with the use of this teaching method during their course. The action-oriented learning is highly valued by students because in their opinion, that is very important for applying the theoretical knowledge. An interesting result from this study is the improvement of students’ skills and attitudes in relation to group work. In spite of the fact that these competences are very important in real life, students usually do not have the opportunity to put them in practice during the other courses of the Accounting and Administration undergraduate degree.

[1] R. W. Adler and M. J. Milne, “Accounting Education : An Improving the quality of accounting students ’ learning through action-oriented learning tasks,” Account. Educ., vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 191–215, 1997.
Business simulation, learning by doing, action-oriented learning, work in groups, management skills.