Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Thomas F. Rienzo
Doctor of Philosophy
Department:Mallinson Institute for Science Education
Title: Conceptual Change Resulting from Experiential Learning with Business Enterprise Software
Dr. William Cobern, Chair
Dr. Joseph Stoltman
Dr. Bernard Han
Dr. Bret Wagner
Date: Tuesday, December 5, 2006 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
3350 Schneider Hall
Abstract: This study examined concept changes in business process by undergraduate business students through an active learning experience with commercial enterprise software that is used by industrial companies to optimize and control their business transaction processing for purchasing, sales, production, and logistics. Students that participated in this study were enrolled in an introductory information technology course that employs a commercial enterprise system, called enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, to demonstrate interactions among business processes involved in purchase and sales processing cycles. Specifically, business process comprehension was examined through three interdisciplinary lenses: (1) conceptual change from the discipline of science education, (2) learning styles from the discipline of business management, and (3) technology acceptance from the discipline of management information systems.
In order to assess conceptual change, data were collected from assessment instruments based on the purchase and sales activities of the ERP software, and scored based on student knowledge of components and sequences involved in purchasing and selling. Assessment instruments were administered at three time points: (1) prior to ERP experience, (2) after experiencing ERP software through a simulated purchase (or sales) cycle, and (3) after experiencing ERP software for a second time through a sales (or purchase) cycle. Data relating to student learning styles and technology acceptance were also collected through established validated instruments. Student self-assessment opinions concerning the educational value of their ERP experiences were analyzed qualitatively with attention to self-assessed comprehension benefits of experiencing the ERP software.
When considering the entire population of the study, analysis of component and sequence scores relating to conceptual change revealed patterns that generally followed typical consumer purchasing or sales experiences, and no significant component or sequence changes to sales or purchasing cycles were seen over the time points of the study. Statistically significant differences were observed over time in subcomponents of purchasing and sales processes more typical of business transactions than consumer transactions. Most of the differences involved the sales transaction cycle rather than the purchasing cycle. Segmentation by learning style revealed statistically significant component or sequence score differences for students exhibiting assimilative and accommodative styles. A positive relationship was found between student self-assessment of their comprehension of business processes, and usefulness factors of the Technology Acceptance Model.
This study may have implications for the way in which ERP software is utilized in business curricula to support business process comprehension.
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