EFFECTS OF LEARNING OBJECTS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING OF COMPUTER APPRECIATION IN TECHNICAL COLLEGES
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This study was carried out to determine the effect of learning objects in teaching and learning of computer appreciation. The study was based on mixed research design comprising quasi experimental, descriptive survey, and interview using focus group discussion guide. The area of the study is Enugu state. Data was collected from 66 students, 34 in the experimental group, 32 in the control group and 6 computer studies teachers. The Computer Appreciation Achievement Test (CAAT) was used to collect data for the experiments while questionnaire and focused group discussion were used to collect quantitative and qualitative data respectively from the teachers. The data were analyzed using the mean and the standard deviation. The results of the study reveal that there are statistically significant increase in the achievement of the students in the experimental group that received learning object. The results of the study also showed that learning object increased the achievement of both male and female students. The findings of the study showed that the teachers experienced problems using learning objects in teaching and learning computer appreciation. It was recommended that since the use of learning objects enhances the academic achievement of the students in computer appreciation, teachers and the students at all levels of education should adopt the use of learning object for instructional delivery. It was also recommended that seminars, workshops and conferences should be organized by state ministries of education where teachers will be taught the application and usage of various modern teaching techniques for effective teaching and learning of computer studies and other vocational subjects.
Background of the Study
The art of teaching is fundamentally concerned with passing ideas, skills and attitude to the learner. Integration of computer technology in teaching and learning of computer appreciation in technical colleges means more than teaching basic computer skills and software programs in a separate computer class. Effective technology integration deepens and enhances the learning process. In particular, it supports active engagement, frequent interaction and feedback. Learning equipped with technology tools allows the students to be intellectually challenged while providing them with a realistic snapshot of what the modern office looks like. It also enhances the relationship between the teacher and the students. Teachers grow into the role of adviser, content expert and coach. Teaching and learning with computer technology changes the ways to reach different types of learners and assesses students understanding through multiple means.
Learning is the activity or process of gaining knowledge or skill by studying, practising, being taught, or experiencing something; it is acquisition of knowledge and skill. Learning is the act of acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing existing knowledge, behaviour, skills values and synthesizing information. This information is passed on to the learner through teaching. Teaching is defined as the act of given in lessons or concepts on a subject to a class. It means showing the students in technical colleges in Enugu State the basic concepts in computer appreciation.
Technical colleges in Nigeria have been training people to become craftsmen and technicians. Training qualifies them for jobs in both public and private sectors of the economy. According to Ndomi (2005), both sectors, require well-trained and competent technicians who can operate and maintain the available technical equipment. Technical colleges also known as vocational or trade school are educational institutions that prepare students for a career in a specific field. Students are taught skills for their career of choice only. Technical college provides courses in a wide range of practical subjects, such as information technology, applied sciences, engineering, agriculture and technical skills.
Technical colleges play a vital role in Nigeria. They train and produce technicians for industry; they impart vital technical skills in the youths. Technical colleges help towards the attainment of the goal of self employment, job creation and in the struggle towards technological advancement and skill acquisition. Through technical colleges youth acquire such skills as technicians in computer hardware maintenance, software development skills, electrical and electronics technicians etc; therefore there is need for qualitative technical colleges for education and training to produce graduates that can perform competently in their chosen vocation without pre-employment training. The major goal of technical colleges is to prepare students for successful employment in the labour market (Finch & Crunkilton, 2009). This condition can be met through a curriculum that is relevant and comprehensive and a well equipped workshop with relevant training facilities which cannot be achieved without adequate technical education.
Technical education is the academic and vocational preparation of students for jobs involving applied science and modern technology. Technical education is the training of technically oriented personnel who are to be the initiators, facilitators and implementers of technological development of a nation by adequately training its citizenry on the need to be technologically literate, leading to self-reliance and sustainability. Technical Education is that aspect of education which leads to the acquisition of practical and applied skills as well as basic scientific knowledge. These skills and basic scientific knowledge are achieved through technical colleges. Technical college programme is concerned with trades, such as mechanical trades, computer trades, electronic engineering trades, building trades, wood trade and so on. With the introduction of the national policy on education i.e. (6-3-3-4) system, the technical college teachers and students to some extent became aware of the need to develop necessary useable skills required to operate our various industries. These trade subjects taught in technical colleges are offered with the aim of training the students in various skills and competencies required for their future developments. Osuji (2004) asserted that government strongly believes that the objectives of job creation and poverty reduction can only be realized through appropriate education which empowers the product of the education system with skills and competencies to become self employed. This hope can only be achieved if the technical subjects are well taught and appropriate learning environment created in our schools at various levels.
It is a known fact that no meaningful teaching and learning can take place in an environment that is not conducive. Observation, experience, and numerous studies have revealed that most of our schools are lacking adequate instructional facilities and have obsolete equipment. For there to be good result/output, teaching and learning environment need to be conducive. Good Instructional facilities and services are basically the sure way of attaining this feat. The schools need to be better equipped with good teaching and learning environment, workshops and laboratories. Educational environment poses a strong influence in the teaching and learning processes because effective learning takes place in an environment that is properly organized. This is an important factor that must be taken into consideration for effective teaching and learning of computer education in technical colleges in Enugu state.
Computer education is designed to build familiarity with one of the most ubiquitous technologies of the 21st century. The level and depth of computer education vary greatly, from that required by the occasional user to the needs of a deep-dive specialist. The subject matter is broad and encompasses a variety of disciplines which computer education is critical, given the technology’s foundational nature. A well-rounded curriculum in computer technology includes several key areas of study, including hardware, software, systems, architecture, data and security. Hardware refers to the physical elements of a computer system, while software enables the user to work with those physical elements. Systems comprise a connected array of hardware, software and data marshaled together to solve business problems. The architecture is the “blueprint” that describes in some detail how a particular system will function. These key areas in computer education are taught in technical colleges as computer studies. Computer studies is a course of study devoted to using and programming computers. In technical colleges in Enugu state so many topics are taught in computer studies, such as basic computer operation which is encompassed in computer appreciation. The topics taught under computer appreciation are meaning of computer, input and output devices, hardware, software, booting and shutting down.
A computer is a general-purpose device that can be programmed to carry out a set of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Since a sequence of operations can be readily changed, the computer can solve more than one kind of problem. The computer is divided into hardware and software.
Computer hardware is the collection of physical parts of a computer system. The hardware components of the computer system are input devices, output devices, and storage devices. Software is a collection of programs that helps one communicate with the hardware of the computer. Software is a set of instructions for a computer to perform specific operations. Computer software, on the other hand, is not something you can touch .There are different types of computer software which are useful for several purposes. They are system software and application software. System software coordinates the complete system hardware and provides an environment or platform for all the other types of software to work in. It is the most basic type of software in any computer system, which is essential for other programs, applications and indeed for the whole computer system to function. Examples of system software are Microsoft Windows XP, Mac OS, Linux, Windows Vista, Ubuntu, device drivers, etc. Application software are those that help the user perform the tasks of his/her choice. They are non-essential software which are installed and run depending upon the requirements, in the environment provided by the system software. Examples of application software are MS Office, Open Office, Media Players, MS Access, educational software, media development software, Antivirus software, among others.
Booting or booting up is the initialization of a computerized system. The system can be a computer or a computer appliance. The booting process can be “cold”, after electrical power to the CPU is switched from off to on (in order to diagnose particular hardware errors), or “warm”, when those power-on self-tests (POST) can be avoided. Warm booting can be initiated by hardware such as a button press, or by software command. Booting is complete when the normal, operative, runtime environment is attained.
A computer keyboard is an input device used to enter characters and functions into the computer system by pressing buttons, or keys. It is the primary device used to enter text. A keyboard typically contains keys for individual letters, numbers and special characters, as well as keys for specific functions. A keyboard is connected to a computer system using a cable or a wireless connection.
Most of these topics in computer appreciation are taught in technical colleges in Enugu state using Chalk and talk method. The students are not exposed to the real contents of the topics leading to poor performance of the students in computer studies.
Computer appreciation starts from knowing the common things of the computer such as knowing its components, central processing units, visual display unit, keyboard, mouse, and speaker, switching it on and off, working around with the computer packages like Microsoft word, Excel etc and every other basic knowledge. After this someone will be able to really work and produce outputs from the computer. However some people decided to relent at this stage which they consider is enough for them while others out of curiosity still move on to know or acquire more skills or knowledge of the world acclaimed machine. Some researchers have shown that by the year 2025 about 85% of the world population will be able to acquire a household computer just like television in families over the world. Looking around us today without any reasonable doubts we agree that the computer has really made huge changes in the way we live our lives, life is simple and more flexible with it, quick decisions are made where necessary and above all, the whole world has been made a global village. All these were possible by our curious minds with the help of computer appreciation. Computer appreciation has become one of the vital tools, necessary for promoting education worldwide; therefore there is a need for effective teaching of computer appreciation in technical colleges in Enugu state.
It is widely documented that most teachers in technical colleges in Enugu state use mere lecture and explanation methods to teach topics in computer studies (Unongo, 2015). According to Oranu (2003), the lecture and demonstration teaching methods are regarded as conventional teaching methods which are content driven and certainly not learner-centered. Conventional teaching methods are predominantly used for instructional delivery in technical colleges in Nigeria. Okon (2002) equally noted that conventional teaching methods are not challenging enough to the needs of the students. Conventional methods of instruction which are sometimes referred to as “one-way communication” methods of instruction are widely used in technical colleges. When this method is used in teaching computer appreciation, the teacher does most of the talking, and the students more often assume a passive role which makes learning ineffective. Hence, Barnstein (2006) stated that effective teaching methods are meant to be as interactive as possible, emphasizing small group work using relevant and practical case studies. The methods of teaching technical subjects are expected to improve students’ knowledge and skills but these instructional methods used are based on the behavioural learning theories which according to Campbell and Campbell (2009) does not equip teachers with adequate knowledge of the human intellect and interest they are expected to develop in learners. The shortcomings of the present teaching methods such as lecture method questioning, team teaching and so on are partly accounted for the poor performances of students in technical subjects at the school certificate examination (Nwoji, 2003). This poor performance also affects their work when employed after graduation (Paris,1998). An investigation into the performance pattern in the National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB) result from 2010 to 2015 showed that students’ performance was very poor, The Board identified some of the students’ weakness to inadequate exposure to appropriate instructional materials, (Chief Examiner’s Report, 2010 to 2015 in Ikyumen and Gbodi, 2007). In affirmative, modern teaching methods require less talk on the part of the teacher and more activities and contributions from the students (Abdullahi, 2008). Therefore, it will be interesting to establish the effect, the use of modern teaching method such as learning objects could have on academic achievement of students in computer appreciation,
considering the current poor performance of students in the computer studies.
Learning objects are instructional materials found on the internet that can be used to illustrate, support, supplement or assess student’s learning, such as Follow-the-Timeline, Construct-a-Table, Reveal-the-Picture, Crossword, Wheel-of-Fortune, Flash-Cards (Rosenberg, 2003). It is an instructional strategy in which learners are presented with small learning frames or piece of information in logical sequence. Learning objects as perceived by Lee (2004), and kurbanoghi, (2005) is a coordinated information that enables students to work individually while information needed by the students is presented in a way they find it most helpful. Uhumuavbi and Mamudu (2009) further explained that with learning object, learner’s positive response is immediately reinforced and allowed to move to the next stage of learning. Owusu (2010) remarked that learning objects is a compliment of other teaching approaches. Instructional process in most school subjects is witnessing a shift from teacher centered methodology to student-centered Instruction as a result of inestimable value of technology in education. Meanwhile Siskos (2005) argued that the increased acceptance of technology in technical colleges is an assumption of its educational benefits in education.
Learning object is an automated instructional method in which a computer (electronic
machine) is used to present an instruction to the learner through an interactive process (Ajelabi 2000). Learning object is learner-centered and activity – oriented. A learning object is defined as a collection of content items, practice items, and assessment items that are combined based on a single learning objective. Although the term originates from “object-oriented” programming, its use is completely different. The advantages of this method according to Orjika (2012) include, ensuring the application of proven teaching methods to students; offering equal educational opportunities for students by using the same programme; changing the role of the teacher from teaching capacity to that of a guide; also when properly handled, removing fright and embarrassment on students both (male and female) bringing about meaningful learning and academic achievement.
Gender has been identified as one of the factors influencing students’achievement in computer appreciation (Anagbogu and Ezeliora, 2007). According to Uwameike and Osunde (2005), gender refers to all the characteristics of male and female which describes behaviours or attributes expected of individuals on the basis of being either a male or female in a given society. Ekeh (2003) stated that gender is a terminology that categorizes human beings into males and females. With reference to teaching and learning situation, Wasagu and Mohammad (2007) observed that different results and views of researchers in studies of different subjects showed that male and female students perform differently as a result of cultural and traditional reasons.
One of the proven ways of preventing poor achievement of students and stimulate their interest in learning is the use of interactive teaching methods, which if handled well will improve the academic achievement of both male and female students in computer appreciation.(Okoli and Nwosu, 2010; Orjika, 2012 and Gana, 2013).
According to Meseran & Atan (2005) there is a gender gap in the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). As a result of gender roles assigned by different cultures, many female students have been brought up to see computer and its use as reserved for the male gender. According to Munusamy and Ismail (2009) women look at computers and see more than machines, thus considering computers as masculine and complicated to use. According to Asuquo and Onasanya (2006), many factors in and outside the classroom result in girls being turned away from computer technology. These factors include the media depicting men as experts in technology, social expectations of different goals for boys and girls, the structure of learning tasks, the nature of feedback in performance situations and the organization of classroom setting. These factors are often subtle, they go unnoticed; it is little wonder why girls are not interested in computer technology. This situation has led to what scholars have termed the gender digital divide. Explaining this, Ikolo (2010) stated that the gender digital divide is manifested in the poor performance of female students in computer applications as compared to male students. Gurumuty (2004) observed evidences that points toward imbalances in use of computers and other educational technologies.
According to Tella & Mutula (2008), the issue of gender equity as far as access to and use of ICTs continue to a topical subject not only in developing countries but the world over. However available indices have began to suggest that although there is gender gap in all countries with the significant growth in access to and increased educational opportunities for more female students. The relative difference between male and female students in their academic achievement in computer appreciation will diminish when appropriate and effective educational technology is used in teaching and learning the basic or fundamental computer knowledge to the students (Sevenson, 2002, Kay 2008 & Munusamy & Ismail, 2009).
The academic achievement of the students is how well the students are doing in the classroom. Sometimes it could mean how well they are doing and how close they are coming to achieving their goals of learning computer appreciation. These effects in the academic achievement of the students could be improved through learning objects. Academic achievement means the change or result expected in the performance of students in technical colleges in Enugu State in computer appreciation when they are taught using learning objects. The study therefore aims at determining the effects of learning object in teaching and learning of computer appreciation in technical colleges in Enugu state.
Statement of the Problem
The primary purpose of teaching at any level of education is to bring a fundamental change in the learner (Tebabal & Kahssay, 2011). Teaching is a process that involves bringing about desirable changes in learners so as to achieve specific outcomes. Teaching is a continuous process that involves bringing about desirable changes in learners through use of appropriate methods Ayeni (2011). In order to bring desirable changes in students, teaching methods used by teachers should be best for the subject matter. Teaching methods work effectively mainly if they suit learners’ needs since every learner interprets and responds to questions in a unique way (Chang, 2010). As such, alignment of teaching methods with students’ needs and preferred learning, influence students’ academic attainments.
The methods of teaching computer appreciation are expected to improve students’ knowledge and skills but these instructional methods do not equip teachers with adequate knowledge of the human intellect and interest they are expected to develop in learners. Teaching computer studies in most technical colleges in Enugu State has been chalk and talk, it is a one way flow of information, teachers often continuously talk for hours without knowing students response and feedback. The material presented is only based on teacher notes and textbooks. There is insufficient interaction with students in the classroom. More emphasis has been given on theory without any practical real life time situations, learning from memorization but not understanding. The teaching process is dominated by traditional methods. Failure of the students to thrive at their own pace and insufficient activity of students is one of the drawbacks of this type of learning.
An investigation into the performance pattern in the National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB) result from 2010 to 2014 showed that students’ performance was very poor in computer studies. The Board identified some of the students’ weakness to inadequate exposure to learning activities, (Chief Examiner’s Report, 2010 to 2014 in Ikyumen and Gbodi, 2015). The shortcomings of the present teaching methods such as lecture method, team teaching and so on are partly accounted for the poor performances of students in computer studies at the school certificate examination (Nwoji, 2003). To facilitate the process of knowledge transmission, teachers should apply appropriate teaching methods that best suit specific objectives and expected learning outcomes. Hence the need to determine the effect of learning objects in teaching and learning of computer appreciation in technical colleges in Enugu State.
Purpose of the Study
The major purpose of the study was to determine the effect of learning objects in teaching and learning of computer appreciation in technical colleges in Enugu State. The study specifically determined:
- the effect of the use of learning objects in the academic achievement of students in computer appreciation.
- the effect of the use of learning objects in the academic achievement of male and female students in computer appreciation.
- the hindrances experienced by the teachers in using learning objects in teaching computer appreciation in technical colleges in Enugu State.
- the strategies that could enhance the use of learning objects in teaching computer appreciation in technical colleges in Enugu State.
Significance of the Study
The result of the study would be beneficial to the teachers, students, curriculum planners, government and administrators of technical colleges in Enugu State towards integrating learning object in teaching and learning.
The study would help the teachers to achieve their teaching effectiveness and productivity. This is in line with the assertion of Ekwueme and Igwe(2001) who noted that it is only the teachers who would guarantee effective and adequate usage of learning objects and thereby facilitate success. Consequently a teacher who makes use of appropriate learning object to supplement his teaching would help enhance students innovative and creative thinking as well as help them become plausibly spontaneous and enthusiastic. Ormeji (2002) supportively assets that any teacher who takes advantage of these resources and learns to use them correctly will find that they make almost an incalculable contribution to instruction. Through the study the students on the other hand would be exposed to different methods of improving their understanding of computer appreciation, the students will appreciate the interactive nature of learning objects in enhancing their knowledge of computer appreciation.
The findings of the study through effective use of learning object would enable the students to learn and retain what they have learnt thereby advancing their performance in the subject. This is because according to Nwadinigwe (2002). Learning is a process through which knowledge, skills, habit, facts, ideas and principles are achieved, retained and utilized, and the only means of achieving this is learning object.
The curriculum planners would also benefit from the findings of this study because it will provide them with relevant information on how the students in technical colleges can improve their performance in computer appreciation. This information will make the curriculum planners to integrate appropriate teaching method in teaching and learning during curriculum review.
The result of the study would help the government to decide on the best teaching method to be introduced in teaching and learning computer appreciation in technical colleges. This is based on the performances of students in computer appreciation when different teaching methods are used.
Finally the result of the study would motivate the administrators of technical colleges in Enugu State to conduct in-service training for teachers on computer technology for them to embrace the current technological training in teaching and learning. When teachers solidify their teaching with learning objects and the learners learn effectively, the knowledge acquired will reflect in the society effectively, thereby achieving the main aim of technical colleges.
- What are the effects of the use of learning objects in the academic achievement of students in computer appreciation.
- What are the effects of the use of learning objects in the academic achievement of male and female students in computer appreciation.
- What are the hindrances experienced by the teachers in using learning objects in teaching and learning computer appreciation in technical colleges in Enugu State.
- What are the strategies for enhancing the use of learning objects in teaching and learning computer appreciation in technical colleges in Enugu State.
The following hypotheses would be tested at 0.05 level of significant to guide the study:
HO1: There is no significant difference between the mean scores of students taught computer
appreciation using learning objects and those taught without the use of learning objects.
HO2: There is no significant difference between the means scores of male and female
students taught computer appreciation using learning object.
Scope of the Study
The study is delimited to the effects of learning object in teaching and learning computer appreciation in technical colleges in Enugu state. It involves two technical colleges with 66 students and 6 computer studies teachers. It covers the meaning of computer, importance of computer, types of computer, components of the computer, booting, shutting down the computer system which are the contents of computer appreciation. The study also covers the hindrances experienced by the teachers in teaching computer appreciation using learning objects and the strategies that could help in using learning objects to teach computer appreciation.
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