The eLearning, the Brave New World of Higher Education
Chapter And Authors Information
The fact, the COVID-19 Pandemic has forced the education to change rapidly and rely heavily on digital space, what makes it unavoidable to elaborate and know good teaching-learning practices, successfully applicable educational methods, and teaching strategies, innovative educational- technology tools. This chapter will present an e-educational methodology that has given a great answer for COVID-19. The chapter presents the technological solutions that are used to prepare eBooks, like textbooks and interactive set of examples books. It presents s an accounting lesson in a virtual classroom pointing out the operation of the classroom and its role in education, it invites the reader to take part in the lesson to experience the mood of the virtual classroom. The goal of the chapter to guide the reader into the world of e-learning, to appreciate its importance, and added value in the palette of the education.
Keywords: teaching-learning model, strategy, eBook, virtual classroom, LMS.
Historically, textbooks have been presented as dry monologues, a one-way conversation that often seems to talk to the teacher more than to the student. However, modern education instead, must promote an active dialogue. Teachers and students should work together to create an environment where teaching and learning is flourishing: we have to create an educational environment where the teaching and learning process is glad, experiential, where students gain as much knowledge as possible through experience.
We, teachers, want the students to understand the nature of our endeavour: studying can be effective if the methodology of the teaching-learning process is perfect, multifarious, it is always adapted to the nature of the particular teaching material. If a student does not read the textbooks, or chapters of them, maybe she/he finds them boring. If a student does not go along the learning pathways defined in the subject program maybe she/he does not understand the material that the textbook includes, or the offered pedagogic method is not able to motive her/him.
All of these are warning signs for the teacher. We need to think about the methodological solutions of the teaching-learning process critically because otherwise, we will have wasted our own time and that of our students, as well. The question is whether a perfect methodology exists.
I have been teaching in higher education for over twenty years. Year in and year out, the accounting has always seemed to me to be both interesting and relevant to everyday life. From the day I started to teach this subject, my goal was, literally set out to rethink the nature, structure, and purpose of textbooks. Every aspiration was designed to enhance student learning. I wanted the learning material to be presented in a manner that is both innovative, effective, and exercise oriented. I have thought, if I do my job properly during the creation of the learning material and the methodology, those will be unique.
For years, I have searched the student-focused methodological tools of the teaching-learning process, while realizing that in today’s world, I would not be able to reach my goal without electronic tools. Recently, the youngsters’ learning habits have changed radically. They like e-books better than traditional books, they like to share content with each other through community media, and they spend a significant portion of their lives in a computer environment.
It the fact, the COVID-19 Pandemic has forced the education to change rapidly and rely heavily on digital space, what makes unavoidable to elaborate and know good teaching-learning practices, successfully applicable educational methods, and teaching strategies, innovative educational- technology tools. This chapter will present an e-educational methodology which has given a great answer for COVID-19.
The chapter presents the operation of the competency-based education model and 5R learning strategy which is applied in digital education for more than ten years. Will be presented some technological solving of preparing eBooks, like textbooks and an interactive set of examples books, further an accounting lesson in a virtual classroom, pointing out the operation of the classroom and its role in education. We give an opportunity to the reader to take part in the lesson to experience the mood of the virtual classroom.
Traditional or distance-learning?
In recent years, the so-called „What, why, because, how, who, where?” question of didactics in the education, and therefore, the setup of different teaching-learning models has always been on the agenda, irrespectively of the education process takes place in the traditional or distance-learning framework.
Over the last decade, the question – Whether and to what extent can the virtual, electronic-tool-based education, the „guided self-learning”, available through distance learning books, CDs, and websites, serve as an alternative to the traditional education method with the physical presence of the students and the teachers? – became one of the most important issues in high education.
The question seems not to be paid sufficient attention, so far. Certainly, it is not overemphasized to say that those nations will, on a long run, be more successful which will not only incorporate the distance learning in the central elements of their education policy but will also prepare appropriate action plans for research and development, then will, in an immediate way, establish the conditions for the applicability in practice, as widely as possible, especially in the field of the higher education and the postgraduate training.
Behind and in the background of the slogans of „Knowledge-Based Society” (KBS), and “Lifelong Learning” (LLL) there are, on the one hand, the following aims:
– All layers of the society, to the widest extent possible, should have access to the relevant information/knowledge, and should, from time to time, update and develop it.
– The human resource demand in the fast-growing, high value-added producing sectors should be met.
While, on the other hand, the basic conditions for virtual education “in bulk” have been evolving/evolved: the digitalized, electronic communication tools and channels allow to multiply the capacities of education/teaching and to increase their efficiency.
Due to the increased number of students at the universities and colleges and to the „lifelong learning” objectives, the distance education/e-learning is more and more appreciated, thus, it aims at expanding the virtual solutions in the high education, and creating complex (tutor, examiner) training centers, developing electronic teaching materials, which are to support the self-learning, the successful preparation for the examinations, the efficient acquisition of knowledge.
We ‘e-teachers’, believe that e-learning is an instrument for building successful individual carriers, and for modernizing the society, it is a reliable, high quality, open-access method of education.
It is, also, to detect the competences, which will suit to enhance the effectiveness of the teaching and learning activities in the virtual space and to explore the methods, through which the progress performed – both on teachers’ and on students’ sides – in the e-teaching-learning process can be proven.
The structure of the chapter
In the second section, the structure and the operation of the competency-based model and strategy are presented, which had been developed by me for the e-teaching-learning process.
The third section will concentrate on the content and methodology of the e-books prepared in the field of economic sciences for the purposes of testing the effectiveness of the developed e-teaching-learning model and the learning strategy. The reader will find specific references to the relevant parts of the e-books in order to have a more transparent view on the methodology problems and solutions, and the significant difficulties to face, in many cases, during the practical implementation, which requires continuous improvement.
The fourth section will describe the knowledge portal, the Moodle platform, the place to develop the knowledge, to create the interactivity. Here are to present the practical use of the competency-based e-teaching-learning model and learning strategy, the learning process supporting the role of the e-books, furthermore, is lighted on the content and methodology structure of the e-books.
Also, in this part, we will walk through the Moodle-compatible eLearning standards, IT opportunities for interactive knowledge transfer such as SCORM, Quandary, Hot Potatoes Software’s, the iSpring Suite 9 PowerPoint-based toolkit and the WizIQ virtual classroom, so the technology, how to produce and manage the teaching-learning process throughout the clouds.
In the fifth section will be presented the experiential learning as an educational and pedagogical method and the educational games, as tools to realize it. Finally, the sixth section gives an opportunity for the reader to insight into an accounting course at Milton Friedman University
2. THE TEACHING – LEARNING MODEL AND LEARNING STRATEGY
In this part, I introduce the own-developed educational model and learning strategy which I have been applying successfully in accounting teaching for years.
It was aimed at elaborating on an e-teaching-learning model and a learning strategy that is science field-independent. The demonstration of workability and applicability will be made through the examples of teaching-learning materials and education methods developed for teaching financial-, taxation-, accounting-, and natural sciences subjects (chemistry), highlighting, at the same time, the fact, that these will, effectively, serve to increase professional skills of the students and to provide high-quality training for them.
It is to be proved that the e-teaching-learning process is to be carried out at such a platform of education, which will, parallel, be learning-, and student-, and teacher-cantered, as well. The progress of virtual education will be enhanced, on the one hand, by the leadership of the teacher, what will be manifested through recommendations to the learning mode, methodology, pace, time, location, and, on the other hand, by the student’s freedom in learning, thus in his/her free selection in the above-mentioned recommendations.
The developed e-learning materials which represent a new stage at the scene of the education help to develop the professional skills of the students on a high level in the given science areas, effectively guide the e-teaching-learning process without any need for direct teacher-presence.
The acquired knowledge will represent a significant value both for the students (professionalism, confidence, and carrier-development) and for the society, as well. All the nations is need professionals with complex, comprehensive, multi-disciplinary skills because it is condition of their competitiveness. Those universities which do not build their own high-quality digital education strategy will have no say in the future of education
Education in a virtual environment requires the transformation of the traditional teaching-learning environment, the knowledge and use of modern information, and communication devices. For the sake of the developed world’s future, the socialization of the “lifelong learning” has become a primary task, i. e. a piece of the norms, part of the culture. Under these circumstances, the state-of-the-art e-learning, i. e. distance education – characterized by learning management, open learning, and the virtual environment of education – has received a specific role
When highlighting the subject, the “premissa”, I have set forth, is that the key dimension of the high-quality virtual education is the learning material itself, if it is able to appropriately influence and shape – through its relevant methodology – the further key elements: the student, the teacher, and the teaching-learning environment.
Based on the above “premissa” I developed the Competence-based Teaching-Learning Model and 5R Strategy.
The methodology is being relied on the appropriate aspects of knowledge management, the learning management, and the aim at assisting students in finding and developing their own learning style, in order to obtain real knowledge, through a self-relied learning activity. The prerequisite of successful learning is that the students know “how to learn”, and for this goal, the learning must be continuously learned by them. The methodology strives also for supporting the teachers in developing the learning environment, where all necessary conditions are provided for the continuous development of basic competencies of the students (Szegedine, 2010a).
2.1 Competency-based teaching learning model
The self-developed Competency-based Teaching Learning Model (CTLM) (Figure 1) emphasizes in the teaching and learning the main persons are the teacher and the student and they contact by the learning materials (e-books).
The e-books are „knowledge transfers”, the substances, tools, and methodologies, so it is the tools for presentation of the unity of learning organization (Szegedine, 2010a).
Competence-based Teaching-Learning Model
E-Teaching – Learning Process: LLL cycle
Levels of the learning
The model is an iterative methodology (Figure 2) to indicate the learning is a never-ending learning process.
The teacher plans the e-learning material and offers it for students. Based on integrated substance and methodological solutions the teacher becomes to get some information now and then (continuously) about the knowledge and social-emotional development of the students. Based information acquired the teacher can prepare special and individual development plans for the student to help them to catch-up, to be more confident in course material or to learn independently.
The material needs to have substance and methods, which facilitate differentiated education, personalized development.
For every student – based on a preliminary survey of their pre-knowledge, the learner/ learning differences, their strengths, and weaknesses – the teacher have to offer the best substance and methods. The student has got freedom of choice; he/she decides what the best is for his/her in the given situation.
In the learning level-system of the e-books (Figure 3) the model requires to achieve to reveal each student’s individual values, to get to the maximum interactivity and communication skills within the framework of the education.
The model emphasizes the values of holistic education and pedagogy: Focuses on teaching the ‘whole student’ through the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development of the student.
In the teaching-learning process, the goal is to develop the whole personality, development of mind, body, and soul. (Seebauer, 2012), what can be achieved through the “individual inner potential” (individual goals, career goals, self-esteem, internal motivation), the quality of the learning environment (e-books, virtual classroom,) and the joint development of the human qualities of learning relationships (cooperative learning, project work… thinking and perception).
The emotional well-being of students is imperative to successful learning. A holistic teacher uses their knowledge of cognitive learning theory and applies the constructivist strategies to how they nurture emotional development (Mahmoudi et al., 2012).
2.2 The learning level-system and the 5R learning strategy
In the learning level-system, the 5R learning strategy appears to give an offer for the student to create of self-learning strategy
- Read! – Learning Material
- Reflect! – Lecture
- Recite! – Practice
- Review! – Stage
- Rest! – On each level
The specialty of the model, the interactive relationship between the teacher and student is created by e-books. As a result of the role of the teacher, the student, and the learning material changes compared to traditional education.
The teacher plans and offers the learning materials, learning methods, learning techniques while takes into consideration the cognitive styles, the individual learning differences of the students.
Based on the offer the teacher gives freedom of choice for the student. The student decides what the best solution is for his in the given situation.
In the teaching/ learning process inseparable from each other the basic competence of the student expands evolves on the 4+1 levels of the e-books.
The students get the skill to apply their knowledge, experience, personal facilities in different situations of life. The model can be efficient solely by the combined application of the three part-structures.
3. THE PEDAGOGICAL AND DIDACTIC PRINCIPLES OF THE SELF-DEVELOPED EBOOKS’ IN THE LIGHT OF THIS COMPETENCY-BASED TEACHING AND LEARNING MODEL AND 5R STRATEGY – HOW DO THE MODEL AND STRATEGY WORK?
When highlighting the education in a virtual environment, the “premissa”, I have set forth, is that the key dimension of the high-quality virtual education is the learning material itself, if it is able to appropriately influence and shape – through its relevant methodology – the further key elements: the student, the teacher, and the teaching-learning environment
Based on the above “premissa”, I developed some e-books – Accounting of Subsidies, Introduction to the Accountancy, General Accounting, Taxation …-, (Figure 4), available on my home page (Szegedine, 2012).
When compiling the learning materials, I have relied on my pedagogic principle: the main aim lies, to a great extent more, at forming personalities in an appropriate way and developing the abilities in an adequate way than at increasing the quantity of the knowledge, as basically the former factors may guide the students to convertible knowledge. The methodology of the e-books is being relied on the appropriate aspects of the knowledge management, the learning management, and on the aim at assisting students in finding and developing their own learning style, in order to obtain real knowledge, through a self-relied learning activity. The prerequisite of successful learning is that the students know “how to learn”, and for this goal, the learning must be continuously learned by them. The methodology of the e-books strives also for supporting the teachers in developing the learning environment, where all necessary conditions are provided for the continuous development of the basic competencies of the students (Hon Wai CHUN, 2004).
The e-books are available for somebody on my website but mainly used by higher- education students as an additional learning source to the traditional ones. The e-books show considerable success achieved based on the number of users; the number of visitors exceeds 1.000 monthly.
Electronic books compiled by the author
When writing the e-books, the basic principle was that the transfer of knowledge should serve, on the one hand, for the self-reliance, the self-development, the freedom in the education, and on the other hand, for educating the sense of responsibility, the respect of others, cognition and recognition of others. The methodological structure of the modules in the e-books reflects my hypothesis, that several types/devices of learning sources should be offered to the student, and then, it is to be left on their own, without any external pressure, to choose between them.
The e-books are inducing the students to accomplish self-organized learning, supported by the Internet, however, they are obliged to follow disciplined and linear progress in the learning material. Due to the specificities of the learning material, the students, for the sake of the successful accomplishment, must respect the offered order of progress
- learning on their own, using “The learning material” module, which is easily readable and rich in multimedia devices,
- deepening the acquired knowledge by using the “Lectures” module,
- checking the knowledge by using the “Practices” module which offers practice-oriented examples,
- The “Stage” module, as the “level of action”, serves for trying the practical application of the knowledge (Figure 5).
In the course of planning the single modules and the learning environment, I put major emphasis on the clear-cut structuring in order to provide an easy “look-through”, a “sense of safety” for the students, as they will be able to select the devices, modes for acquiring and practicing a given lesson, a homework. In a well-structured learning material, the chance for the self-relied progress is better, the derivation of consecutive new items is simpler, the manageability of the material is better.
The four modules of the e-book: Introduction to the Accountancy (Learning material, Lectures, Practices, Stage) http://www.lengyelpiroska.hu/szamvitele/konyv/Tartalomjegyzek.html
3.1 The First Level of the Learning Process, the “Learning Material” Module – The First R – Read!
The “Learning material” level, i. e. the level of acquiring information, serves for a self-relied acquisition of the knowledge for the student, i. e. learning on his own. The module uses passive and active elements, supported by multimedia devices, for presenting the topics, illustrated by pictures, figures. The content, being split into information units, will form an organic whole, thus supporting the structuring of the acquired knowledge.
The built-in guiding elements and feedbacks are encouraging the students for active learning and are, at the same time, directing, optimizing the learning process, adapting to the learning styles and mental standards of the students.
When compiling the “learning materials” of the e-books, I was searching for methods, through the application of which the “closing up” of students with lower status can be solved, their participation will be more active in the learning process and their study performance improves.
Positive feedbacks, received from the partner students and the teacher will strengthen the competence, the self-confidence and, in this way, will give further motivation for continuing the activity and will induce students to meet the requirements.
In the closing section of each major chapter of the learning material, I inserted project works, which are to prefer working in teams, to get acquainted with partner students, to emphasize the importance of community-building, thus the requirements which are relevant for the e-learning, as well. It is offered to the students, every one of them can measure the level of the knowledge, acquired through the self-relied learning through the solution of the project works of practical nature, working together with other partner students, in the framework of on-line sessions.
In the project work, both the teacher and the partner students are expecting active participation. They are expecting that everybody takes responsibility for the result of himself and for that of the team, as well. Furthermore, every student will be a competent and equal participant in the learning process. During the team works the students are realizing that everybody possesses important intellectual abilities, even though unique ones, through which he may contribute to successful teamwork (Juneau, R. K., 2008).
Participation in the teamwork requests an intense, self-relied contribution from the students, it integrates the knowledge and the students are responsible for each other’s work, so, in this way, a relation-net of mutual interdependence will be formed between them.
The most important aspect is that for the successful solution of the teamwork, it is inevitable to mobilize the students’ colourful abilities and through this way – in addition to the advantage that every student, irrespective from his own intellectual abilities, contributes to the successful solution of the teamwork – the teacher, as an observer, has a possibility for studying and “mapping” the individual capacities and capabilities of the students (Nádasi, 2001).
The teacher’s task is to listen, from the background, “behind the curtain”, to the students’ learning strategy, to control the full learning process, to encourage, to activate the students and to support, if it is needed, the lower status students’ being switched on into the team work.
3.2 The Second Level Of The Learning Process, The “Lectures” Module – The Second “R” – Reflect!
The “Lectures” module is the second level of the learning process, the level of deepening the knowledge, learning with interaction, and learning with teacher’s cooperation (Figure 6).
The Lecture http://www.lengyelpiroska.hu/szamvitele/konyv/Eloadas.htm
The lectures are fundamentally being relied on an illustrative-explanatory method. The essence of this method lies in visually presenting, modelling the topic, even playing it, to the extent possible, and commenting and explaining it in a short text. The advantage of the method, that it presents the topic in one shot and in its context, at the same time, while directing the students’ attention to the message. Notwithstanding, the very key element of all learning activities is the perception, the cognition. The progress made on his own, the self-relied development, can multiply the efficiency of the learning process. The activity and progress on his own are a real, natural learning action (it is not artificial, directed from outside, as in case of “old traditional” school learning) it is being fed by the student’s curiosity and manifested in increasing desire for learning (observing, appraising, etc.). One’s knowledge, acquired in this way, can be recalled even many years later. As an example, let’s take the railway models or car models collection hobby of the children: they remember the mechanical-technical data of the models even in their adult age since the knowledge was made on their own in the course of a natural, active process.
While compiling the lectures, the fundamental idea was that experience-like learning leads to a better than average motivation and results in a long-lasting learning spirit.
A unique element of the lectures is rewarding, the acknowledge of students’ performance, and the successful acquisition of the knowledge, namely building in a rewarding lecture into the teaching-learning process. The playing, the educational game like active relaxation can increase the efficiency of the learning in a considerable measure since in the course of studying by playing the affirmation of the knowledge acquisition process with emotional experiences is exceptionally intensive. A learning activity like this is much more enjoyable, has an entertainment-like character: the students are playing during the learning, they are learning by way of playing.
The closer the playing to the reality stands, the better the intensity of the knowledge acquisition will be. The playing (reward lesson), based on a real situation, built-in to learning material, due to its experience-like character, will, on the one hand, increase the inner motivation of the students, on the other hand, it has a specific beneficial effect, as the participants will, in the course of playing, experience the contexts of the real practice. The students have possibilities to shape the playing and, in this way, teamwork will have emerged which mobilizes the knowledge of every participant and creates an opportunity for learning and changing each other’s’ thoughts and opinions. The learning material, having been played, will better be stored in one’s brain, as if it would have been heard, only. Both the intuitive vision, the several-sided observation of the facts, and the free fantasy activity will help to store the knowledge and the experiences.
The condition to take part in the reward lesson, thus accomplishing a simple, playing-like task, selected out of the “Practices” (e. g. a crossword) provides an opportunity for acknowledging the results achieved by the students and this feedback influences the inner motivation positively (Deci et al., 1981).
The Third Level Of The Learning Process, The “Practices” Module – The Third “R” – Recite!
The Practices module serves to measure the level of acquisition of knowledge. Both the teacher and the student receive feedback on how and to what extent the latter has managed to acquire the learning material (Figure 7).
The assessment plays an important role in shaping the attitudes to the learning process, in framing the learning motivation. In order that the assessment can be able to fulfil its motivating function, the teacher must analyse – based on results of the students in solving the works of the Practices – the students’ difficulties in learning, continuously (Réti, 2003).
The Practices module serves for strengthening self-confidence of the students. Every student may choose out of the works with the different difficulty levels of the Practices, in accordance with his own assessment regarding the level of knowledge acquired by himself. The position of having an opportunity of the choice increases the student’s autonomy sensation in the learning process
The opportunity of the choice among the works of different difficulty level increases the probability of the successful problem solving, as well, which influences the competence sensation advantageously, while the successful solution of the works strengthens the student’s self-confidence, which is extremely important for both the intellectual health and the learning success, as well. A built-in program of the module evaluates the student’s results promptly, thus the immediate feedback can contribute to confirm himself in his personality and to respect himself for his result achieved. From the learning efficiency’s point of view, it is exceptionally important for the student to release his own negative attitudes against himself, to have a healthy self-confidence, and to realize, he is a valuable man.
When developing the Practices module, the guiding idea of the process was that the acknowledgment of the results releases the student’s inner insecurity, the success motivates him positively and he needs an intense motivation to achieve success. The works, the tests have to possess such contents that the students can look forward to go through this “account giving” phase of the learning process, as a source of joy and, as a result, they will be more motivated regarding their self-development and study results. This goal is being served even by reward works, which is a further acknowledgment of the results achieved and at which the students can arrive through the solution of a simple task (affirmation of the acknowledgment) (Figure 8).
The launch of a reward taskhttp://www.lengyelpiroska.hu/szamvitele/konyv/Peldatar_jutalomfeladat_start.html
The acknowledgment, the reward is a determining element of the self-relied learning process. It enhances self-confidence and contributes to feeding intellectual health and success.
Note: as we have seen, the dominant pedagogical and didactic method in the level system of e-books is game-based teaching and learning. Possibilities of Developing and its application a game-based teaching-learning method is presented in Section 4.1.5 of the chapter.
3.3 The Fourth Level of the Learning Process, the “Stage” Module – The Fourth “R” – Review!
The Stage, “the acting level” emphasizes the importance of “the acting school” the view that the “acting” is inevitable both for developing the thinking and for maintaining the interest. It gives an opportunity to the students to try how they can apply their knowledge in practice (Figure 9).
The students choose a case study out of the “Practices”, they prepare its script, then they present it, they “play the story” and show its possible solution. The assessment of the student teams’ presentations will be carried out, under teacher’s guidance, in the framework of “a staged debate”, prepared in advance according to appropriate appraising points.
The Stage – according to my expectations – gives the experience of joyful learning, it raises the lower status students’ interest, too, and increases their autonomy sensation. Its atmosphere, being characterized by cooperation, enhances the inner motivation, the long-lasting maintenance of which may only be fruitful in such a learning environment, where the single elements, the “players” are strengthening and presupposing each other (Szegedine, 2010b)
Note: The Podium is a Virtual Classroom, where the students present/play the project-task. To play the task we can choose the perfect classroom from a wide variety of classrooms in the market of digital tools. The operation of the virtual classroom is presented in Section 4.1.4 of this chapter.
3.4 The Unique Level of the Learning Process, the “Rest” – The Fifth “R” – Rest!
The fifth R, “Rest” is the fifth level of the teaching-learning process, which is a special level. The Rest is not an independent level, it appears on each level of teaching-learning process. The Rest emphasizes shorter or longer pauses must be inserted into the teaching-learning process because without it neither learning nor teaching cannot be effective.
Self-directed learning (e-learning) in a home environment often requires much greater concentration than traditional classroom learning. Often occurs our attention may need to be kept awake by force. Self-directed learning is special because the knowledge must be acquired independently, but engraving, practice, and deepening are also individual tasks.
When making e-books, I considered an important pedagogical task to help the students in learning the learning- methodology of effectively. To this end in the curriculum, as a conclusion of a curriculum unit, I included different exercises to help to develop the learning attention. Regular completion of these exercises promotes the increase of the strength and durability of attention, and thus the effectiveness of learning.
It is especially important to start learning relaxed. Fatigue is accompanied by a decline in work capacity, impaired ability to recognize the essence, and irritability, which indicates depletion of the central nervous system. Reasonable rest promotes the regeneration of our body and nervous system. Rest often occurs instinctively: our brains turn off, which can lead to the divagation of our thoughts. It is therefore advisable to interrupt learning with consciously planned breaks.
While learning in front of the computer, after mastering a unit of the lesson, a lesson, we need to take a few minutes to break, which is indicated to the learner in e-books by an icon — a sleeping pair of eyes, a gymnastic figure (Figure 10).
Accounting basic e-book
5R – Rest! – Let your eyes to relax
5R – Rest! – Let your brain to relax!
The fifth R in accounting basics book
4. THE KNOWLEDGE PORTAL, THE PLACE TO DEVELOP THE KNOWLEDGE
4.1 Realization of the teaching-learning process on the four + one levels
Place of the teaching-learning process is the Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) Management Learning System, the popular learning platform. When selecting the framework was the main goal to offer students flexible learning options, full of engaging simulation and collaborative activities, knowledge sharing.
Simulations are highly interactive forms of e-learning. The term “simulation” basically means creating a learning environment that “simulates” the real world, allowing the learner to learn by doing. Simulations are a specific form of Web-based training that immerse the learner in a real‑world situation and respond in a dynamic way to his/her behaviour.
Collaborative activities range from discussions and knowledge-sharing to working together on a common project. Social software, such as chats, discussion forums and blogs, are used for online collaboration among learners. Collaborative project work implies collaboration among learners to perform a task. Collaborative activities can include project work and scenario-based assignments.
Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment (Moodle) is a great platform to share the knowledge, to create online courses, which focus knowledge sharing of techniques and tools, focus on the concepts behind a suite of techniques and tools for knowledge sharing.
The Competency-based Teaching Learning Model, (CTLM) is supported by Moodle framework, so the Moodle-framework ensures the interactivity between the teacher and the student, so this modern technology gives opportunity for agile, for the up to date communication between two main characters (Figure 11).
Moodle-services – the serves of the CTLM
Moodle enables us to create online courses, deliver them to students, and track their progress. It also allows us to send and receive assignments, build, and administer quizzes with automated grading and reporting, and enable communication with and between students. In Moodle web-based learning platform the learners have weekly deadlines to accomplish activities and assignments, but they are free to schedule study sessions anytime during that week.
To developing the e-school was necessary another type of platform too – learning content management systems, LCMSs – which focuses mainly on creating e-learning content. So, the developers create content material, such as articles, tests, games, video, and small units of digital content, which are tailored into different courses according to learners’ needs. LCMSs allow digital content to be easily repurposed and actualised what is important in case rapidly obsolete, rapidly changing contents, then for example accounting contents.
Both LMSs and LCMSs are designed to manage course content and track learner performance and learning objects, but they differ in their purposes. While LMSs manage and track online activities, classrooms, and all events, LCMSs manage only the digital content.
To manage the Accounting e-courses I used ‘Moodle-compatible’ digital tools such as SCORM, Hot potatoes, Quandary Software’s, furthermore Virtual Classrooms such as Electa, WiziQ, Go to meeting webinar, furthermore iSpring Suite 9 iCloud LMS. The iSpring Suite 9 can help us on the one hand to create interactive eLearning content on the other hand to launch online training in record time.
In summarize the real value of both LMSs and LCMSs is they can create virtual learning environments with modern and relevant digital contents are used to simulate traditional face-to-face classroom activities and facilitate teaching and learning with a strong collaborative component. They can automate the learning course and easily delivers training, manages learners, and keeps track of their progress and performance across training activities.
They are suitable to manage all aspects of learning and development, such as skill/competency, personal development plans, learning content management, reporting and workflow (Chaubey & Bhattacharya, 2015).
The own developed online accounting courses in the Moodle take advantage of all these features of the Platform on the four educational levels.
4.1.1 Studying on the first level: eBooks’ making by SCORM eLearning Standard
There are several eLearning standards that are supported by various authoring platforms and learning management systems, and they all have pros and cons. It is important to choose a standard that standard best supports us realizing our educational and pedagogical methodology and principles. So, it is important to understand the peculiarities of each eLearning standard, and which one to choose for specific tasks. After I have conducted a thorough analysis of a few eLearning standards I was sure The SCORM will be perfect to reach the goals.
SCORM provides the communication method and data models that allow eLearning content and an LMS to work together. All the training materials for one course are packed into a SCORM package, a .zip archive that contains files in a specific hierarchy. To deliver our e-courses via an LMS, SCORM has its three main components that work together:
- Content packaging
- Run-time: This launches the course in a web browser.
- Sequencing: This dictate how your learners navigate through the course. Strengths of the SCORM which are important for me in learning material developing are the following:
- The most SCORM content authoring tools are quite straightforward and user friendly. For example, with its help, we can easily transform a PowerPoint content into an interactive eLearning course.
- We can set rules for how long a learner must stay on a certain page or section before they can progress, and how much time they need to spend on a course overall.
- Almost all LMS vendors support SCORM content, so migrating courses from an old system to a new one is relatively easy.
- We can mix and match content from different sources within a course; for example, eLearning developed in one authoring tool can be mixed with other SCORM packages developed in other tools.
- The SCORM supports the production of e-books with text, graphics, spreadsheets, images, sound, and video, by which well structured, spectacular educational materials can be prepared.
Based on all that and the fact, that the SCORM is compatible with the Moodle framework the SCORM is the perfect eLearning Standard to prepare the digital courses for me.
We can see an Accounting eBook developed by the SCORM standard in Figure 12.
Accounting E-Book by SCORM software
4.1.2 Studying on the second level: To convert Power Point presentations into eLearning and to make grade quizzes by iSpring Suite 9 LMS
Moodle’s emphasis is on its learning management features. To make our courses truly engaging, they will need to include a degree of interactivity. In Moodle, this interactivity is achieved to some degree by drag-and-drop exercises and the ability to include multimedia. While there are in-built features to change the look and feel of your courses, we can customize our training by our own ideas.
For example, with the iSpring Suite 9 we can easily convert PowerPoint presentations into eLearning, or we can make grade quizzes that are infused with a high degree of interactivity. Simply we can publish our courses as SCORM packages and upload them to Moodle.
Despite Moodle’s open-source platform is one of the most popular and powerful LMSs on the market, through which we can create almost perfect interactive courses, of course, there is weakness, as well. Where Moodle falls short is its course creation capabilities. To treat this problem, I have chosen the iSpring Suite 9. The iSpring Suite perfectly integrates with Moodle LMS, which supports the SCORM, so we can create powerful and professional eLearning by infusing interactivity and multimedia, we will be able to keep track of students’ progress with ease.
The below figures (Figure 13 to 16) show for step to step how can we prepare the video clip of our PowerPoint Presentation then how can we publish it in our Moodle LMS with support of the SCORM.
We load up the ppt. presentation
Upload of the presentation
Upload of the presentation
We convert the presentation to video clip
The video clip
We publish the video clip for our Moodle-LMS
Publishing of the video clip
4.1.3 Studying on the third level: to create grade quizzes with different software’s
The “Practice” module serves to measure the level of acquisition of the knowledge. Both the teacher and the student/user receive feedback on how and to what extent the latter has managed to acquire the learning material. Every student may choose out of the works with the different difficulty levels of the Practices, in accordance with his own assessment regarding the level of knowledge acquired by himself.
To make automated, customized performance-evaluation tasks I have used in relatively simple and fast ways. I have created high-quality tasks using Hot-Potatoes6 software, such as crossword puzzles, word puzzles, or quiz tasks, exercises to fill in spaces in texts, using various clues or multiple-choice tests that can be integrated into the Moodle framework complementing and diversifying Moodle’s own task creation program.
To prepare professional high-quality interactive tasks can be used the Quandary software, which is developed for creating web-based labyrinths offering a variety of options to address a specific problem. By selecting one of the options, the resulting situation puts the student in the position of another option, thereby placing a student in an action labyrinth.
The labyrinths of action can be used very effectively to solve a given problem in a variety of paths, considering the individual learning attitudes that I have been able to utilize in the accounting curriculum. Figure 17 shows game-based tests made by Quandary software.
Accounting test with support of Quandary software
Experience shows that students love and require variety and different difficulty level tasks. It is believed that if they solve many different types of tests, their logical and rational thinking will also be more advanced, the tests are a way of checking their knowledge or comprehension.
The role of the tests is unquestionable in the process of the teaching-learning the tests are the main instrument to evaluate students’ learning in most educational institutions. According to research studies, tests make the students motivating in learning.
iSpring Suite has got great features that will take our eLearning and Power Point presentation to a higher level. For example, with iSpring Quiz Maker we can easily build interactive tests and surveys with custom feedback. We can add a personal touch to our courses: can record a webcam video or easily sync a pre-recorded movie with PowerPoint slides. We can provide our learners with a safe environment to practice their communication skills, can create scenario-based conversation simulations to train and assess in a game-like format. ISpring Suit lets us prepare software tutorials with annotations and hints to help our learners quickly master a new app.
Let us look at an example how we prepare interactive tests with the iSpring Suit Software
Step 1. We change the type of Question. For example: True/False or Multiple-Choice Question or Essay etc. (Figure 18 to 20).
Step 2. We can insert pictures, videos, or audio to the questions from our computer.
The Students write a free-form essay
The Students watch the video and answer to questions
The Students get a picture it to help them to answer the questions
Step3. When we finished the test preparation the publication is allowed (Figure 21).
We have chosen SCORM to publish the tests, due to its the Moodle compatibility
The display image of the tests can be viewed in the program in Slide View (Figure 22).
The tests in Slide View
Note: To learn the using of ISpring Suit software he ISpring Suit – team gives useful help by their great You Tube courses. The toolkit to create eLearning, software simulations is available via www.ispringsolutions.com
4.1.4 Studying on the fourth level: to study, to take an exam, to play …..In virtual classrooms
A virtual classroom is an e- learning event where an instructor teaches remotely and in real time to learners using a combination of materials (e.g. PowerPoint slides, audio, or video materials). This method requires the least amount of effort to convert materials, but instructors still must prepare them. Appropriate technology must be always in place for both the learners and providers.
The main reason for the choice of Moodle was to have an e-teaching-learning environment where teacher-student communication can be implemented in the same way as in traditional classrooms. Let’s imagine the virtual classroom where the instructor gives lectures, presents models of learning content, organises formal and informal exams, controls preparing of the project tasks, invites the students on games, communicates students, makes reports on student’s performance…. Well, the Moodle allows this type of learning management by integrating virtual classrooms (e.g. WiziQ or Electa) which can support communication between learners and teachers in a unique way.
The virtual classroom is a state-of-the-art digital tool which is filled with content created by teachers and students. It is to be noted that the effectiveness of teaching and learning will depend on the creativity capacities of participants, as well. The classroom is available space for real-time teaching lessons, lectures, consultations, formative or summative exams, or even conferences or parent meetings. During classroom lessons organized by the teacher, participants can ask each other, the teacher and solve tasks individually and in groups during the lesson.
The basic function of virtual classrooms is that it can automatically store all teaching and learning materials, including real-time teaching lessons, so these lessons can be retrieved and broadcast at any time, helping students who were not able to attend real-time lessons.
We can see elements of the international accounting basics lesson in WizIQ virtual classroom in Figure 23.
Accounting lesson in WizIQ virtual classroom
One of great features of the Moodle-framework is the WizIQ Virtual Classroom integrates with Moodle to create new capabilities for synchronous learning – all from within the LMS environment. WizIQ is an online learning and teaching platform that connects educators and students through its WizIQ Virtual Classroom technology
The WizIQ Virtual Classroom simply can be installed on the Moodle servers, then teachers and students can access seamlessly. From scheduling, delivering online classes and class management to uploading content for use in these classes, all WizIQ functions are accessible from within Moodle.
In case the WizIQ Virtual Classroom module is installed, live class sessions can be implemented as Moodle activities and students from around the world can have seamless access to synchronous events within the context of a blended Moodle course.
Teachers can edit the schedule for their upcoming classes and make changes to the uploaded content, again and again directly within Moodle.
WizIQ Virtual Classroom records every time students log in and out. An attendance report is generated by the end of class so the teachers can follow the time spent learning of their students that may be an essential point of view in assessment of the student performance.
All classes, all events can be recorded on WizIQ. Teachers can allow students to view the recordings online and/or to download them if they would like to learn later. The system weekly sends a report to teachers how often the recordings were viewed and/or downloaded.
“WizIQ Virtual Classroom in Moodle” is a newer opportunity to follow the students’ learning, to develop the teacher-student, the student-student relationships and communication, to solve the more effective feedback.
In Competency-based Teaching Learning Model (CTLM) introduced the fifth part of 5R learning strategy is the Rest. What does this mean? In the teaching learning process, the most difficult thing is to teach how to think, not what to think. I think the art of the teaching to do just that.
Of course, the teachers must teach students what to think, so how to prepare standardized tests, but this can be effective if they have been teaching them how to think for themselves. So, the students are taught what to think and how to think, and the latter task is indicated by Rest. Students need to be able to think critically and solve problems for themselves, to use the theorems and rules in the real world.
A WizIQ Virtual Classroom can be the place, to create learning-methodology lessons for students-groups, among the lectures or lessons to teach the creative thinking, hard work ethic to give a sense of achievement.
4.1.5 The dominant educational and pedagogical method offered is the game-based learning
The methodology emphasizes agility, communication, feedback, the teaching/learning process and encourages communication, knowledge sharing and self-learning individuals.
Games built into the teaching-learning process are not games in the traditional sense but opened options: students can take the desired or expected knowledge in a variety of ways; they can move freely along the learning paths without any external constraints. The interaction between themselves will allow to communicate each other, exchange views, and cooperate in the learning process. For educational purposes, games that are designed not only for individual learning but also for group learning are most effective. The purpose of education is to prepare students for work in the community, and so the games built into the educational process are expected to create situations in which students learn special communication, generate professional discussions, construct arguments and strategies facing each other (Szegedine, 2020a).
My aims, when designing games for teaching accounting skills have primarily been to develop ‘practical knowledge’ and ‘talent for something’ competencies. The main purpose of the games is to help students learn the way in which the profession or practice community thinks and works. So, during the play, I focused on the action-based learning method, the problem-based teaching-learning method. My goal was to create games that would help students’ mindsets to be practical, to imagine the economic environment in which they would work after the schoolyears.
Also, when designing games, the idea was that if learning was fun, it would encourage students to spend a significant amount of their free time on learning to acquire as much knowledge freely as they could, while revealing “talent”, the “aptitude” of innate abilities and inclinations, the development of which is the task of education. It is the educator’s responsibility to help the emergence of ‘talent’ through consciously designed teaching methodology and the development of individual learning plans, to assist students in their talent management and development.
We must create a learning environment in which the opportunity is offered for students not just simply to try to absorb a small portion of the mysteriously endless world of knowledge, but to experience it, to feel it in different life situations: in community, simulated environment, virtual classroom…
I believe that college and university study programs can help students achieve their career goals by providing training that helps students to discover their talents and their ‘abilities in something’ by learning about the working environment and culture one has once to face. And therefore, we need to take on the stage the learning material.
The integration of digital games, ‘playful rewards’ into the curriculum, the learning-management in the virtual space, also presents new opportunities and challenges for the educator, as there are many technical and technological problems in the learning-content development that may limit applying of the games in the virtual space.
E.g. the software we want to use to create the game may not be integrated into our teaching-learning environment. So, at the planning phase of the e-learning process, it is important to examine the compatibility of the teaching-learning space with the standards, game software and specifications. Thus, we must choose which standards, specifications we want to use to store the data and whether the gamified environment is appropriate.
I started to use games to teach some of the topics of accounting that required extensive professional knowledge. I wanted to achieve that games with all elements of them focus on the real problems, raising interest and arousing ideas, which will lead to the solution of the problem. The aim was that the experiences gained through the gamified teaching-learning environment turn into ideas that will inspire students to acquire new experiences and thus will be more motivated in further learning.
So, to teach some important parts of the accounting, I prepared learning materials combined with a gamified environment: I planned the scene of the game, the characters for modelling a real problem. To compile the accounting balance sheet document, I envisioned the company, the economic operators, management, business partners in the gamified environment, and the accountant under whose leadership the balance sheet document was prepared. The game is available in Accounting Basics E-Book. To start the game the student must solve a crossword.
The way to achieve the tale in the Accounting Basics E-Book
Years ago, I created the games with Adobe Flash software, the professional multimedia development software from the Adobe Systems family, so to play them we need Flash Player. Today, this software is not compatible with the different browsers and operating systems, instead, many tools developed for Learning Management Systems are available, which support development of games, web applications, animations, and mobile content. The LMSs can manage for example the Office Mix application, (to enrich the Power Point presentations with audio, video, games) so we can model content, quickly create animations, simulation games, interactive tasks, create exciting e-learning practises and videos. I represent a kind of accounting model in Figure 25.
Model of the Self-Cost Accounting, in Accounting Basics eBook
In LMS systems their central repository includes all syllabuses, content (e-Book), practice exercises (self-assessment tests and exam tasks with instant evaluation), forum, internal mail system, user-to-user communication in closed learning-teaching space. It is a significant benefit of LMS that it automatically adjusts the elements of an e-learning course from text to images, it can be customized as needed, the position of the elements can be varied, it can be used to create demanding, attractive learning environment.
The educational games in virtual environment measure the students’ performance on “natural way”: we get instant feedback on the student’s existing knowledge, the effectiveness or shortcomings of the learning, and the quantity of time spent on study. Through the game world, we can observe students’ abilities, the active application of concepts and acquired knowledge in a new situation, but the most important novelty is the opportunity to observe when students’ thinking becomes visible, where they are in mental development, what is important that we can design a personalized pedagogical intervention
The Self-developed Accounting Educational Practice eBook that was made with SCORM standard provides instant feedback on students’ performance after completing assignments thanks to built-in measurement process. E.g. if an answer to a question is appropriate, the message “Solution is correct” will be displayed, giving the students positive feedback. If the answer is wrong, the message “Solution is incorrect, try again” is displayed and students will be supported by additional problem-oriented questions to try again. If the second attempt is unsuccessful too, the student will be given another opportunity to complete the exercise by explanation of the knowledge, so with newer help. In the case of a third unsuccessful try, the software suggests the student to review the theoretical knowledge thematically and then try to solve the exercise again. By choosing the ‘Backtrack’ option, students could try to solve the task as many times as they wanted. The software does not recommend stepping the next level until the solution is incorrect. The Figure 26 shows a segment of the algorithm from Accounting Educational Practice eBook made by SCORM standard (Szegedine & Veres, 2006).
Accounting Educational Practice eBook made by SCORM standard
5. INSIGHT INTO AN ACCOUNTING LESSON
If you are interested in how the model works, please take part in an accounting lesson (Figure 27). Register and go into the class. You will see how an accounting lesson takes place in my school https://tavkurzus.lengyelpiroska.hu/course/view.php?id=13 (Szegedine 2020b).
I wish you a good learning.
The structure of an educational week of the course
The findings of the learning material and eLearning courses developed proved my assumptions:
– “To bring the learning closer to home” since people need to have access to the latest knowledge and information as rapidly and easily as possible; and e-learning is the easiest and fastest way for these purposes.
– The motivating force of the e-learning lies in the variety of teaching tools, the experience-cantered learning materials, and the diversity of the communication channels delivering the knowledge to the learners.
Nevertheless, the high level of techniques, technologies alone are not sufficient for the success, and they can only become a valuable teaching tool when students and teachers together, by using them, will create something useful; when the weight in the learning process will be placed – provided that the availability of the modern techniques and technologies is becoming more and more straightforward – on the learning content and the participating students.
All of this means a major challenge for teachers, as they must prove their expertise, the efficiency of their pedagogical, and didactic methods in the teaching-learning processes of a new kind.
In this in the teaching-learning processes of a new kind becomes appreciative of the teachers’ role, the educational is both learner-focused education and teacher-focused one. The most important task for the teachers is, in addition to “delivering the knowledge”, to managing the learning process: they must teach students how to learn as independently as possible.
We can be sure the e-learning provides a high potential for the education however the efforts will only become successful when one has the courage to develop and apply the innovative, modern methods, which will facilitate students’ access to the complex learning materials that support them in understanding and acquisition of the knowledge.
When elaborating on the learning material, the “shaping of personality”, the development of skills should be preferred to the “quantity of knowledge” as the former will provide convertible knowledge.
The education-theoretical concept of thein the chapter mentioned e-books, which is based on “the game-based learning ” pedagogical method, requires a teaching-learning environment, where the students, relying on their own learning experiences, gain the most possible basic knowledge, problem-solving thinking, while they find joy in the knowledge acquisition, their self-development.
It is important to emphasize that applying innovative methods should not be limited to a specific subject area of sciences, at all; however, specificities should carefully be considered when compiling learning materials.
As a summary, we can determine that e-learning is a dominant platform for education, and, for the purposes of its efficient operation, it will be necessary to produce modern multimedia-rich teaching-learning materials, which cover the entire teaching-learning process; and to develop effective learning strategies for an efficient knowledge acquiring.
Imre Seebauer, committed researcher of János Bolyai’s education methodology, wrote:
‘Many years ago, I committed myself to examine and apply the methodology of János Bolyai. Getting to know the educational model of Piroska Szegediné Lengyel, this was the first time that I came across a pedagogical practice that reached the methodology of János Bolyai in his methodological aspirations.
Szegediné Lengyel Piroska has developed university e-textbooks and has been using her educational model in the organization of the teaching-learning process for several years. The developed e-learning materials are successful among the students, the efficiency of their learning increased significantly, by making the learning planning is the main task in the model instead of communicating knowledge, as well as by making she assumes to be permanent the student’s competence at the beginning of the learning process, on which the teaching and learning strategy must and can be built’ (Seebauer, 2012).
I would like to acknowledge Imre Seebauer for appreciation and encouragement.
Szegediné Lengyel Piroska