The Effect of Contemporary Learning Approaches on Student Perceptions in an Introductory Business Course
Experiential learning; active learning; cooperative learning; student engagement; empirical studies
University administrators and educators continue to explore and implement new approaches for delivering coursework. Ultimately, they are attempting to achieve the same goal; increasing the level of student engagement and retention of knowledge while maintaining educational quality. Various contemporary learning approaches can provide a “launching point” to assess, evaluate and implement creative course pedagogies in many introductory courses. To validate the influence of these approaches, this research offers an assessment of the changes applied to an Introduction to Business course using active, experiential, and cooperative learning approaches. The scope of the data was broadened to include both quantitative and qualitative data. Students registered for the course were surveyed using pretest and posttest instruments. The analysis of the data indicates that the application of the three learning approaches has a mixed impact on pedagogical results. Students perceive that their knowledge of business concepts increased after the course was completed despite a challenging environment requiring the application of theoretical concepts to practice. Students indicate that the knowledge gained from experiential-based deliverables through cooperative learning approaches, creates an opportunity for reinforcing and applying introductory concepts. The results of the research also found that while students perceive that their understanding of the concepts has increased, the variety of pedagogical approaches embedded in the course do not necessarily foster additional interest in the subject matter. However, the integration of student qualitative feedback clearly supports the benefits of each pedagogical approach while also providing insight into which approach students found most influential for learning. The contribution of this paper to the literature is to encourage the redesign of introductory courses by integrating all three pedagogical approaches to successfully foster student engagement and higher quality learning.