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P. Somaratne, T. Weerasinghe

University of Colombo School of Computing (SRI LANKA)
Activity based learning provides an opportunity for the students to learn interactively. Through collaborative learning interactions can be created. Therefore, this study aims to identify whether the student interactions can be created through an activity developed to use in both classroom and technology enhanced learning environment. The participants were students from UCSC (University of Colombo School of Computing). Study was conducted from August 2015 to October 2015 for the subject Information Systems Management (ISM). The activity was designed to be conducted in the blending learning mode where both face to face and online environments were used. Students were grouped and given freedom to lead the online discussions and plan further discussions in the class. During the activity role played by the teacher changed from teacher to evaluator.

The study was done based on both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The 90% of students rated that the learning approach used in the study was effective. This is visible in the ratings for the learning (73%) and interactivity (83%) students have experienced from the learning approach of the study. According to the student responses, their individual participation for the online discussion forums participation was 99% and the friends’ contribution was 94%. As a result there was a significant improvement in most of the students during the classroom activity. In the previous year students poorly responded to questions but after introducing this activity their interaction were improved and responded the questions promptly. Successfulness of this approach is shown from the significant improvement of the students’ marks improvements for the year 2015 compared to the year 2014. In year 2014 there were 101 students who faced the ISM final paper and 16% of students were failed. However, in 2015 only 6% students were failed out from the 65 students who sat for the ISM final paper. Further, the average mark for the year 2014 was 64 while it was increased to 71 in year 2015. This clearly shows the improvement of the students through the activity used in this study. According to the results, 58% of students responded that the posts are useful while only 65% students mentioned that they obtain support for the classroom group activity. Based on the students’ final marks it can be seen that students have used the discussion posts as their additional resource. Moreover, students have commented that they were able to acquire additional knowledge through this learning approach and they were not limited to the knowledge given by the teacher.

Based on the analysis, it can be seen that the students experienced an effective learning through the activity used and it had created an interactive learning environment. In overall, the students felt that the learning approach is effective. During the in-class activities instructing the students to use different interactive methods is important. Otherwise the interest of the audience can be lost. Further in the online discussion forums it is important that the instructor involves and check the students’ activities. If they deviate from the question or directly post contents from the Internet then the instructor needs to advise. However, the final results of the students were improved compare to previous year. Hence, it is significant that knowledge of the students can be improved through interactive based learning.