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Improving Information Technology Curriculum Learning Outcomes

Derrick L Anderson
InSITE 2017 , 2017
[This Proceedings paper was revised and published in Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline (InfoSci)]

Aim/Purpose: Information Technology students’ learning outcomes improve when teaching methodology moves away from didactic behaviorist-based pedagogy toward a more heuristic constructivist-based version of andragogy.

Background: There is a distinctive difference, a notable gap, between the academic community and the business community in their views of the level of preparedness of recent information technology program graduates. An understanding of how Information Technology curriculum is developed and taught along with the underpinning learning theory is needed to address the deficient attainment of learning outcomes which lies at the heart of this matter.

Methodology : The case study research methodology has been selected to conduct this empirical inquiry facilitating an in depth exploration within its real-life context. The subject of analysis is two Information Technology classes which are composed of a combination of second year and third year students; both classes have six students, the same six students.

Contribution: It is the purpose of this research to show that the use of improved approaches to learning will produce more desirable learning outcomes.

Findings: The results of this inquiry clearly show that the use of the traditional behaviorist based pedagogic model to achieve college and university IT program learning outcomes is not as effective as a more constructivist based andragogic model.

Recommendations for Practitioners : Instruction based purely on behaviorism or constructivism does a disservice to the typical college and university level learner. The correct approach lies somewhere in between; the most successful outcome attainment will be the product of incorporating the best of both.

Impact on Society: Instructional strategies produce learning outcomes; learning outcomes demonstrate what knowledge has been acquired. Acquired knowledge is used by students as they pursue professional careers and other ventures in life.

Future Research: Learning and teaching approaches are not “one-size-fits-all” propositions; different strategies are appropriate for different circumstances and situations. Additional research should seek to introduce vehicles that will move learners away from one the traditional methodology that has been used throughout much of their educational careers to an approach that is better suited to equip them with the skills necessary to meet the challenges awaiting them in the professional world.
learning outcomes, pedagogy, andragogy, behaviorism, constructivism, learning theory, instructional strategy

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