Academic journal article Journal of Information Technology Education

Using Games-Based eLearning Technologies in Overcoming Difficulties in Teaching Information Systems

Academic journal article Journal of Information Technology Education

Using Games-Based eLearning Technologies in Overcoming Difficulties in Teaching Information Systems

Article excerpt

Introduction

The field of Information Systems (IS) is a diverse and evolving area of study that embraces many disciplines. An important issue within the field of IS is how to teach the range of skills required by IS professionals, which include those of a technical, managerial, social, and organizational nature within a rich and engaging learning environment. The MSc Management of eBusiness is an innovative course offered by the School of Computing at the University of Paisley aimed at providing many of the IS-related skills that modern senior managers require to understand and effectively manage eBusiness solutions.

The course offers a range of IS, business, management, IT, and eBusiness related modules that enable business managers and IS professionals to understand fully the strategies and technologies that can harness the potential of the Internet and eBusiness. When developing the course, market research suggested that a fully online delivery model would provide senior managers with the freedom and flexibility to continue their full-time careers in industry as well as study at a time and in a manner of their own choosing. This market research was carried out in the early 1990s, at a time when online learning was still a relatively new approach to teaching and learning (no fully online course had been developed at the University of Paisley). Thus, a significant amount of persuasion was necessary to get the course approved internally and validated externally. Now, however, online learning has evolved from a marginal form of education to a commonly accepted and increasingly popular alternative to traditional face-to-face education. In fact, as a result of the globalization of higher education, the push for mass higher education from both government and society, and to meet the growing needs of higher education in responding to demands for flexibility, widening participation, continuing education, and lifelong learning, institutions across the world are under pressure to adopt online models of delivery (Connolly, MacArthur, Stansfield & McLellan, in press).

Some faculty members are strong proponents of online learning and believe online courses can provide educational opportunities to learners who would otherwise have to do without. They also believe that the quality of these courses can be comparable to traditional place-bound courses. However, there are also many faculty members who are suspicious of such courses and have significant reservations about the loss of face-to-face contact between instructor and learner. While not entirely rejecting this medium, many of these faculty members use a blended approach to learning (a 'middle ground').

We believe online learning can make a major contribution to the educational requirements in teaching IS-related concepts. To keep pace with changes in technology and to meet the increasing demands of the knowledge-based economy requires a highly-skilled and educated workforce capable of working collaboratively to address problems of a diverse economic, social, technical, and environmental nature. The key to success is in a large part continuing education, which means that online learning with its open access and opportunities for active collaboration in an egalitarian environment will have an important role to play in meeting future challenges (Stansfield, McLellan & Connolly, 2004). In this paper we discuss how we have used a range of interactive technologies, particularly eLearning and games-based eLearning motivated by principles found in the constructivist epistemology to help provide the learner with the knowledge and higher-order skills necessary to work as an IS practitioner. The remainder of this paper is structured into four main sections. In the first of these sections we outline the high-level educational aims of the MSc course and consider some of the difficulties that arise in achieving these aims. Then in the second of these sections we examine eLearning and how we initially applied it to the teaching of the MSc Management of eBusiness. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.