EXPECTANCY THEORY APPLIED TO AN EDUCATIONAL CONTEXT: A LONGITUDINAL STUDY APPLIED IN POSTGRADUATE COURSES
Escuela Politécnica Nacional (ECUADOR)
About this paper:
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Expectancy theory is a motivational principle often used to explain satisfaction after consuming a product in marketing studies. Recent researches has started to apply this theory to the educational context, considering the student not as a passive subject, but as an active member of the formative process. According to this theory, if the process does not match the initial expectation of the receiver of the product – because the final results were lower than initial expectations – there is a degree of dissatisfaction with the entire experience. This also has an impact on the evaluation of the teachers. This is why, it is important to know the initial expectations in order to accomplish them if possible, or to change them in order to adequate them to the reality of the learning process. We conducted this research in two postgraduate courses, in a University in Ecuador. This study was longitudinal: students had to fill a questionnaire at the beginning and at the end of different modules of two Master degree courses. The questionnaire was based on previous studies and considered four different aspects: applicability of the content of the module, didactic model, teachers’ characteristics and teaching support that includes attention and interaction with the support staff. To analyze the data, we made correlations between related samples and sample related comparisons, with a sample of 119 students. Our results show significant differences between initial expectations and final results mainly in the group of variables related to the didactic and pedagogical model used and on the characteristics of the support staff for the development of the formative process. In the first case most expectations where not confirmed because of positive disconfirmation (initial expectations were lower than final results), but in the last group, expectations had a negative disconfirmation. The group with less significant differences between initial and final expectations was the one concerned to applicability of the matter of study. We also had results regarding correlations between initial and final expectations, and group differences considering the Master’s degree course. With this study we show the importance of taking into account the opinions of students in the development of the teaching process, not only considering the teacher and all the conditions involved, in order to adapt the process to students’ needs and wants, but also to adapt the students’ expectations to the real formative situation and key issues that would become the basis for their learning process. It is also important to consider those expectations that were not accomplished because of positive disconfirmation, since they are a strength that can be used for communicational purposes and for the acknowledgment of the teacher.
Keywords: Expectancy theory, confirmation-disconfirmation theory, motivation, post-graduation.