Integrating active learning strategies into the teaching of accounting

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Integrating active learning strategies into the teaching of accounting


Author: Poon, Kam-ling Jandia.
Title: Integrating active learning strategies into the teaching of accounting
Degree: M.Ed.
Year: 2004
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Accounting -- Study and teaching -- China -- Hong Kong
Active learning -- China -- Hong Kong
Department: School of Professional Education and Executive Development
Pages: viii, 97 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: Evidence from the published literature in post-secondary education suggests that the use of active learning, i.e., involving students directly in the learning process, can have a positive impact on students' learning outcomes. Students at the researcher's institution had reported negative experiences in learning accounting in mass lectures. The purpose of this study was therefore to propose, implement, evaluate and refine a new teaching and learning approach that aimed to improve the learning environment of accounting students, and at the same time to meet their diverse learning needs and expectations. Central to the new instructional approach were interactive lectures, previewing tutorial exercises, regular formative quizzes, and cooperative learning activities. Action research combined with a quasi-experimental design was adopted in this study. The participants were all students (n=450) who took the module “Fundamentals of Business Accounting” at the researcher's campus (a campus of the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education) in the academic year of 2002/3. The treatment group, consisting of three classes of students (n=124), was taught by the researcher using active learning strategies throughout the entire academic year whereas the control group, consisting of eight classes (n=326), was taught by two other teachers using the conventional lecturing approach. Instruments used for this study were: Students' assessment scores (including assignments, tests and final examination), Students Feedback Questionnaire (SFQ), satisfaction survey and focus group interviews. Comparison of students' academic achievement and the rating of SFQ between two groups was made and largely based on the statistical data generated from SPSS. Both quantitative and qualitative results were used to answer the following two specific research questions: 1. How, and to what extent, did the intervention affect student learning? 2. How might the intervention be modified or improved to further enhance students' learning of the subject?
Findings indicated that the active learning strategies used in this study resulted in better academic achievement and higher overall satisfaction (SFQ rating) in the teaching and learning process. More specifically, the students in the treatment group performed significantly better than the students in the control group in almost all assessment components, including assignment three, tests one and two, and the final examination. The estimated effect sizes were of medium to large magnitudes. Similar results were revealed in the SFQ survey that the treatment group had given significantly higher ratings than the control group in terms of their overall experience of learning and teaching of the subject. The estimated effect sizes of the differences were also of large magnitudes. With respect to students' perceptions of the active learning strategies, students in the treatment group generally favoured the active learning environment and liked the active learning strategies used. The majority of students expressed their opinions that the pace of teaching met their needs and expectation, the level of difficulty was appropriate, the teaching method stimulated their interest in learning accounting, and the active learning strategies employed in lectures helped them understand the content easier. However, a minority of students felt that improvements were needed in areas such as teaching pace, workload, and classroom environment. Actions for further improvement were discussed and led to changes in the planning of the second cycle of the action research. Due to the limitation of time, this thesis has addressed only the first cycle of the action research. The favourable outcomes achieved in this study give support to the positive effects of active learning revealed in many previous studies. More importantly, the experience gained from conducting this study convinced the researcher that action research is a way to integrate educational research with teaching practice, and a way of professional development for teachers as researchers and reflective practitioners. Thus, it is believed that this study provides a tested and workable model for other IVE teachers to implement and experiment with alternative strategies for enhancing student learning.

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