Using a Multimedia Case Study Approach to Communicate Information Technology Concepts at the Graduate Level - The Impact of Learning Driven Constructs

  • Victor W.A. Mbarika


Learning-Driven Factors, constructs that show the intrinsic value of the instructional materials to the end-user, have been found to be fundamental in improving a learner?s higher order cognitive skills needed to communicate technical concepts like those in Information Technology (IT). Communicating IT concepts at the graduate level could be a difficult albeit challenging task when faced with a heterogeneous class made of students with varied backgrounds in IT. One tool that has been identified as helping students understand complex technology concepts is multimedia instructional materials. This research investigates the perceptions of graduate business students on improvement of their higher-level cognitive skills when they participated in a multimedia based case study that involved making a multimillion decision to implement a new POS system at the Chick-fil-A food chain. Two groups of students participated in an experiment where they analyzed the case study and made their recommendations. One of the groups was made of graduate business students with at least three years of work experience in the IT area. The other group was made of graduate students at a traditional university, most of whom had no previous work experience in the IT area. Two questionnaires measured their perceptions on the improvements achieved on different constructs. Using the Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) procedure, the perceptions of the two groups of graduate students on the impact of the learning-driven constructs and higher order cognitive skills when using multimedia case studies were solicited. These results show that multimedia instructional materials were found to be very helpful in understanding technical issues. In particular, they were more effective for graduate business students with no previous work experience if they included learning-driven factors such as challenging the participants, providing self-learning opportunities, making it possible to learn from others, and enhancing learning interest.